UK Gambling Groups See Share Prices Drop

Ladbrokes

UK high street bookmakers such as Ladbrokes and William Hill saw their share prices continue to drop on the London Stock Exchange after the government revealed its 2014 budget, announcing that Machine Games Duty on fixed odds betting terminals would rise from 20% to 25%. The sharp rise in duty on machines offering the highest stakes has been described as a “painful loss” for bookmakers.

The news comes as a blow for UK bookmakers as they struggle to organize their companies ahead of the new Point of Consumption tax that will come into affect at the end of the year. The government ruled that tax will need to be paid based on the physical location of the player (point of consumption) and not where the online gambling operator is located. A number of bookmakers left the UK to relocate their online operations in tax-friendly havens such as Gibraltar several years ago, mainly to escape Britain’s high taxation rates. Now, however, they will need to reconsider the economic viability of remaining in Gibraltar since they will be taxed based on where their players are located. The new POC tax comes hand in hand with new laws that require all operators who have UK customers to carry a license by the UK Gambling Commission.

Experts predict that these changes to the Gambling Act will negatively impact the economies of places like Gibraltar, and will also see more players heading to unregulated online gambling sites.

Ladbrokes CEO Betting on UK Gambling Market

Ladbrokes

Ladbrokes, the online betting and gaming company recently announced that the full year operating profit for its digital division is expected to be below market expectations.

Richard Glynn, the Chief Executive Officer of the UK gambling group, revealed that the company’s biggest growth opportunities will come from the UK’s digital market. These comments were made by him soon after Ladbroke’s interim statement was released.

According to Glynn, Ladbrokes remains committed to bringing its brand to new markets and that the next six months will see it being all about delivery which will allow them to take advantage of the many opportunities that are still there.

Meanwhile, Ladbrokes is continuing to integrate with Playtech, one of the leading software and games suppliers, as it anticipates improving its digital division operating profits although Glynn admitted that operational progress had not translated into satisfactory results.

Ladbrokes is, however, relying on Ladbrokes Israel, its new digital marketing subsidiary, to drive revenue growth and marketing improvements over the medium term. The company is hoping that improved marketing efforts will offset the negative effects that they are expecting from the United Kingdom’s new 15% consumption tax.

Richard Glynn also revealed that Ladbrokes intends expanding in the Nordic markets and in Spain where they intend developing its joint venture with locally based Cirsa in order to launch a sports betting and gaming site to complement their existing retail offering.

Ladbroke also wishes to launch its Spanish facing Sportium brand into the Mexican gambling market and endeavor to move into other Latin American markets before the Brazilian World Cup.

Ladbrokes Acquires Aussie Sports Betting Operator

Ladbrokes

Ladbrokes, the leading UK online and land betting group, has announced that it has entered into an agreement in terms of which it will acquire Australian sports betting operator Gaming Investments Pty Ltd under its newly formed Australian arm “Ladbrokes Australia” for an initial payment of A$22.5 million (approximately £13 million) as well as an “earnout” which is payable by the group at the end of 3 years which will be based on the EBITDA for Ladbrokes Australia for the year ending 30 June, 2016.

Gaming Investments is a popular online sports betting business that includes Panda Gaming Pty Ltd, operator of a huge racing and sports focused affiliate network in Australia and Bookmaker.com.au Pty Ltd, operator of the online bookmaker Bookmaker.com.au.

Ladbroke’s global reach will be expanded due to this new acquisition, which will also provide the group with a low cost entry into the regulated and growing Australian sports betting market.

Bookmaker.com.au is led by founder and Chief Executive Officer Dean Shannon and reached circa A4400 million in amounts staked for the year ending 30th June, 2013.

Chief Executive Officer for Ladbrokes, Richard Glynn, revealed that acquiring this rapidly growing business represents a wonderful opportunity for Ladbrokes to establish a strong presence in Australia which is in line with their aim to extend geographic reach to key regulated markets.

Damian Cope, Ladbrokes International and Group Strategy Director, will oversee Ladbrokes Australia and report to Chief Executive Richard Glynn.

Gaming Investments Pty Ltd’s operations will remain based in Brisbane under the leadership of Dean Shannon, the Founder and Chief Executive Officer who is a highly experienced online gaming entrepreneur.

New Marketing Campaign Launched by Ladbrokes

Ladbrokes

Ladbrokes, the UK gambling giant, is attempting to improve its brand by launching a mafia-inspired marketing campaign which it hopes will boost awareness of its products and services.

Ladbroke’s Oddsfather campaign will run for a year on Channel 4, ITV as well as BSkyB and will feaure Tiziiano Crudeli and Chris Kamara in activity that is inspired by “The Godfather”.

There will be five ads in all, the first one featuring Crudelia aka The Oddsfather sitting in an armchair wearing a very prominent Ladbrokes pinky Ring. He is seen stroking his pet hedgehog while granting two punters odds and offers for sporting events. Chris Kamara plays Credelia’s henchman.

The first two ads feature the tagline “excitement you can’t refuse” and will promote Ladbroke’s new offer of double live odds on football. These will be aired during the Goodwood Racing Festival and the Ashes Test cricket matches.

Future ads will focus on Ladbrokes’ online, mobile and casino offers.

According to Adam Collet, the Marketing Communications Director of Ladbrokes, their advertising over the last two years has helped drive strong improvements in their awareness and brand consideration. Collet added that they are looking to showcase the exciting range of bets and offers that Ladbrokes has to offer their customers for the new football season.

The Chief Executive Director of marketing firm SapienNitro, is delighted that the catch phrase “game on” has already captured the excitement that Ladbrokes shares with punters. He added that they have created “The Don” of betting in the Oddsfather in order to reflect Ladbrokes’ authority on betting and making punters an offer that is hard to refuse.

The first ad has already been broadcast while the others will be rolled out at regular intervals.
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Ladbrokes Appeals Robbery Compensation Ruling

Ladbrokes

UK Sports Betting giant, Ladbrokes, has criticized a landmark decision by a country court ordering the group to pay a betting shop cashier traumatized by armed robbers during a robbery which took place at Ladbroke’s shop in Walsgrave Road, Coventry at 6.30 pm on 5th November, 2007.

Kerry Nicholls was working at the shop when it was raided by two masked men armed with a handgun. After pointing the weapon at her, Kerry was forced to allow the gunman to go behind the counter where he demanded money from the safe, leaving her hysterical and physically sick.

Kerry was awarded an amount of £9,000 by a Walsall County Court Judge last May after suing her employers, Ladbrokes Betting and Gaming Limited for compensation for her psychological injury.

However, Ladbrokes is challenging the ruling made by the County Court in May, 2012, and has lodged an appeal before Lords Justice Jackson, Tomlinson and Floyd in the Appeals Court. The appeal was lodged because the payout was awarded to Kerry on the basis that Ladbrokes had failed to provide the staff at the shop with a safe working environment and should have employed a magnetic locking system with external CCTV – controlled by staff – on the door of the shop after the hours of darkness.

Catherine Foster, on behalf of Ladbrokes, has attacked the judge’s approach to the evidence as “wrong” as the shop, although classified as a low risk shop, was fitted with more security than a low risk shop would be. Foster added that the manager undertook a shop specific risk assessment only one month before the robbery.

The three judges have reserved their decision on Ladbroke’s appeal.