Ladbrokes issue highlights bookmaker news of week

By Martin Green23 December 2018
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Ladbrokes has been accused of paying £1 million to victims of a gambling addict on the condition they did not inform the industry watchdog. The addict stole from clients to fund his £60,000 per day gambling habit, reported the Guardian. According to the newspaper, five of his victims complained to Ladbrokes for accepting stolen funds, and it allegedly paid them £1 million to keep them quiet about it.

The UK Gambling Commission said: “We are enquiring into this matter to ascertain the full circumstances. We have clear expectations of all operating and individual personal management licence holders, we expect them to work with us in an open and cooperative way including the need to disclose to us anything which we would reasonably expect to know.” Ladbrokes added: “We are cooperating with the Gambling Commission where necessary and have no comment to make at this time.” The report also goes into explicit detail about the bookmaker’s wooing of the punter, taking him to big sporting events, offering him lavish bonuses and sending him luxury hampers.

One punter was celebrating Crystal Palace’s famous 3-2 win over Man City after backing the Eagles at an outrageous 190/1 at Betfair Exchange. Palace had lost 5-0 on their last two visits to the Etihad and they were widely expected to be crushed by the Premiership champions. But a fine strike from Jeffrey Schlupp, a wonder goal from Andros Townsend and Luka Milivojevic’s penalty led the visitors to a sensational victory in front of a stunned stadium.

William Hill: David Lowden is leaving his role as a non-executive director on the board of William Hill. He will depart the firm in March 2019 and move to a new role at healthcare group Huntsworth, leaving a vacancy for the chair of William Hill’s audit and risk management committee. Roger Devlin, William Hill chairman, said: “On behalf of the William Hill board, I would like to thank David and acknowledge his contribution and service to the board over the last seven years. ... David has been a valued member of the board and I am particularly grateful for his counsel and support since I took on the role of chairman.”

Unibet: The book must pay a gambler 1.2 million kroner (£140,000) in compensation for offering him bonus schemes after he had already drawn attention to his addiction. The punter said he repeatedly pointed out to Unibet that he was desperate to stop betting, but could not stop, accusing it of ignoring his pleas. The district court ruled in his favour, but Unibet said it is considering whether it can get the case to the Supreme Court as it claims it has done no wrong.

Boyle Sports: The Irish bookmaker is planning to buy 100 betting shops in the UK in early 2019. The Irish Examiner reports that Boyle will buy a UK retail business at the start of next year after reaching saturation point in its domestic market. It also plans to build up its online offering across Europe, Asia and Africa.

Also: Portugal’s online gambling sector enjoyed revenue of €38.5 million in the three months to September 30, 2018. That represents an increase of €9.2 million on the same period in 2017 and the rise was attributed to the World Cup. That saw online sports betting turnover hit just under €90m in Q3, up €13.3m year-on-year, as football accounted for 78.5% of the money staked.