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GVC Board Members Accept Pay Cut

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Ladbrokes owner GVC has announced that board members will take a voluntary 20% pay cut during the Covid-19 crisis. The pay cut is effective immediately and runs for three months. Board members have also agreed to forgo their bonuses for 2020. The news follows the firm’s decision to scrap its interim dividend as a result of significantly reduced revenues after the coronavirus outbreak decimated the sporting calendar and forced betting shops to shut their doors. GVC, which also owns Coral, anticipates that monthly earnings will drop by around £50 million per month during the crisis. The firm’s share price was 919.00 at the start of the year and it decreased to just 323.70 by mid-March, but it has now recovered and closed at 749.80 on Friday.

A new gambling giant will begin trading on the London Stock Exchange when Flutter Entertainment finalises its acquisition of The Stars Group. Paddy Power Betfair owner Flutter will purchase all the shares of TSG and create a combined entity with annual revenue of £3.8 billion. “I am delighted to confirm that our transformational combination with The Stars Group will complete on 5 May,” said Flutter chief executive Peter Jackson, who will lead the combined group. “The enlarged group brings together exceptional brands, products and businesses, a hugely talented and experienced team, and a diverse global presence,” he added. “The strength of our combined portfolio of assets means that we approach the future with confidence in these uncertain times. Both businesses have a strong legacy of leadership when it comes to responsible gambling. As a combination, we are determined to deliver on our commitment to drive a race to the top when it comes to responsible gambling best practice across the sector.” In the UK it brings Paddy Power, Betfair and Sky Bet together, while in the US it puts FanDuel and Fox Bet under the same umbrella.

The UK’s largest gambling companies have agreed to suspend all TV and radio advertising for at least six weeks during the coronavirus lockdown. The British Gaming Council said its members have taken the step in order to safeguard customers during the crisis. BGC members include Bet365, William Hill and GVC. “From day one of this crisis we have sought to protect customers potentially at risk, including announcing stepping up safer gambling measures as part of our 10 pledges for covid-19 in March,” said BGC chief executive Michael Dugher. “This latest move by the regulated industry further underlines our commitment to safer betting and gaming with many people cut off and feeling anxious.” The trade body estimates that members have taken a 60% revenue hit during the crisis.

William Hill has signed the European Gaming and Betting Association’s pan-European code of conduct for responsible advertising. The scheme is designed to complement and strengthen regulations already in place, including specific measures that focus upon content moderation, minor protection, responsible gambling, and social media measures. “As license holders within numerous markets, our advertisement policies always follow the local regulatory frameworks,” said Patrick Jonker, managing director for William Hill International. “During these difficult times we welcome any initiative that will offer additional protection of minors.”

Football leagues in Portugal, Poland and the Czech Republic should return to action this month. Authorities in each nation confirmed that leagues can resume play, although there will be no fans inside the venues. NASCAR is also preparing to host seven races over an 11-day period at Darlington and Charlotte this month, providing some light at the end of the tunnel for sports betting operators. Golf courses will also start reopening in the weeks ahead, while big football clubs in Spain and Germany are hopefully that they can soon play again behind closed doors. It is a welcome tonic for football fans after the seasons in France and the Netherlands had to be scrapped.