Ladbrokes Takes a Punt on New Chairman

By Martin Green03 November 2019
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Ladbrokes Coral owner GVC has taken a punt on former William Hill director Barry Gibson as it seeks to repair relations with leading investors. Gibson will replace Lee Feldman as chairman following a seven-month search. Feldman infuriated investors earlier this year when he and chief executive Kenny Alexander sold £20 million worth of shares, sending the group’s stock price tumbling. It came after Alexander said GVC shares were seriously undervalued. Gibson has served as chairman of Homeserve for almost a decade, and he has previously sat on sat on the boards of digital entertainment, Playtech and William Hill. Gibson also chairs Sports Information Services Holdings, which works closely with the UK gambling industry.

The Royal Bank of Canada believes there is a strong chance of Flutter Entertainment’s takeover of The Stars Group going through. Paddy Power Betfair rebranded as Flutter earlier this year and it is now bidding to create the world’s largest online betting group by purchasing The Stars Group. It would mark a major expansion in North America, where Flutter already owns FanDuel. However, it could create competition issues in the UK, as The Stars Group owns Sky Bet. The combined market share of Paddy Power, Betfair and Sky Bet might simply be too much, and there was even talk that it might have to sell off Paddy Power in order to get the deal over the line. But RBC said Flutter's tie-up has a “high chance” of completing and offers an “unparalleled opportunity” for share price upside

888 Sport is seeking a new head after chief Yuval Benyamini left the role to pursue opportunities outside the industry. Benyamini had spent 12 years at 888 and he has headed the sports division for the past six years. The search is now underway for a replacement to lead the operation to a glorious new future. 889 Sport has emerged as an exciting, dynamic operator in recent years, known for the in-depth information it provides on sports, along with a range of interesting bonuses. Right now it is giving away £30 in free bets if you place a £10 qualifying wager, while it also allows you to double your winnings when using the bet booster on Champions League and Europa League games.

High street bank NatWest is offering counselling sessions for gambling addicts inside branches as part of a pilot scheme that could eventually be rolled out across the UK. Anyone with a gambling problem can make an appointment to meet with a representative of charity GamCare in 13 NatWest branches during the trial scheme. If it proves successful it could be rolled out to 700 branches. It is also allowing customers to block gambling transactions on their bank accounts and credit cards using its mobile app. “Some customers might be uncomfortable going to an addiction centre,” said NatWest’s head of lending, Phil Sheehy. “This is an accessible and neutral environment.” GamCare will be training NatWest staff so they are equipped to deal with problem gambling issues.