William Hill has decided to merge its online and retail divisions in a bid to speed up the firm’s recovery as the coronavirus lockdown eases. The bookmaker hopes to enjoy a strong rebound in 2021, with the sporting calendar returning to normality and big events like the Euros and the Olympics on the horizon. Nicola Frampton, who has led the retail division, will leave the bookmaker within six months and online managing director Phil Walker will run the newly merged division. “We will be immensely sad to say goodbye to Nicola Frampton when the time comes,” said chief executive Ulrik Bengtsson. “Nicola has been with William Hill for 10 years and has been a driving force on the executive team as well as being instrumental in reshaping and transforming our retail business.” William Hill recently closed 713 betting shops after the UK government enforced a maximum stake of £2 on gaming machines, down from £100.
Ladbrokes Coral boss Kenny Alexander has warned that onerous regulation of the gambling sector could push punters into the unregulated black market. Alexander was responded to a House of Lords Gambling Industry Committee report, which called from urged government intervention to reduce gambling-related harm. He accepted the need for a review of the 2005 Gambling Act, but pointed out all the responsible gambling measures the industry has taken in recent years. “We have to do a better job of communicating that, because those who are implacably opposed to gambling as a matter of principle are actively seeking to damage the industry through onerous regulation, which will ultimately drive customers into the hands of the unregulated black market,” said Alexander. “It is important that all stakeholders work together to keep gambling effectively regulated for all parties.”
A punter in Belfast has slammed Bet365 for refusing to pay him out on Linfield winning the Danske Bank Premiership title. Christopher Rafferty placed a treble last September on South Africa winning the Rugby World Cup, Liverpool winning the Premier League and Linfield clinching the NIFL Premiership. The first two legs came in, and Rafferty was expecting to receive £530 after Linfield were crowned champions via a mathematical formula after the season ended with seven games to play as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, Bet365 voided that part of the bet and paid him just £192.50 on the double instead. “Obviously the circumstances are different, but at the end of the day Linfield were crowned champions,” said Rafferty. “Bet365 told me they had taken a traders decision and voided that market. They said they had done this because the remaining games hadn’t been played in the Irish League then they couldn't pay out on that part of the bet. They paid me out on the double, but I have referred the bet to the gambling adjudicator to see if they can look into it.”
Paddy Power has shortened the odds on Lionel Messi leaving Barcelona top 5/4 after the Spanish giants hit a poor patch of form. The La Liga champions have fallen behind Real Madrid in the title race and Messi has been shorn of service in recent weeks, leading him to cut a frustrated figure. Now pundits reckon he wants to move away from the only club he has ever played for. Paddy Power, spokesman for his eponymous bookmaker, said: “Lionel Messi has ‘had enough’ at Barcelona – yeah, I can imagine Las Ramblas, Gaudi, tapas, and the Mediterranean Sea really starts to grate after a while. If he really is leaving, he could pick any club in the world, and we think Manchester City would be his first choice. From one historic club to another, erm, club.”