Boylesports Aims to Bid for Ladbrokes Irish Business

The Irish Times has issued a report in its business section stating that local betting group Boylesports is endeavoring to take over Ladbrokes, the loss-making Irish retail business that has been placed under High Court protection from its creditors in order to allow it to restructure the business.

Ladbrokes has been attempting to employ a rescue plan for the loss-making chain with Ken Fennell of Deloitte, the examiner appointed by the High Court to oversea a rescue bid, preparing to close up to 60 of Ladbrokes 196 betting shops in the Republic and also cut approximately 250 jobs.

Despite the fact that the plan may involve some closures, the newspaper quotes sources who say that this plan offers creditors a much better deal.

Privately owned Boylesports has, however, approached the examiner and is currently in talks with him with regard to an alternative plan. Boyles first approached Fennel in late April, shortly after his appointment was confirmed by the High Court.

Although the proposals made by Boylesports are also likely to include closures of betting shops, it will involve offering better terms to creditors, which is chiefly made up of landlords, than the proposal that Ladbrokes has put on the table.

Several landlords are totally dissatisfied with the compensation proposals with one landlord revealing that he had only been offered a ludicrous amount of €12,000 to €24,000 on a lease on which €467,500 is due over the following five years. Yet another landlord claims that he has been offered compensation of €6.000 on a lease that had a five year life at a return of €275,000.

Boylesports will be required to get any bid past the Commission for Competition and Consumer Protection which could demand that Boylesports offloads certain outlets to another operator before being allowed to take over its rival.

According to John Boyle, the chief executive and founder of Boylesports, they are committed to ensuring that they have the best shops in the best locations for their customers. He also said that they have been very active in recent years in making sure that need is met and they remain open to opportunities as and when they arise.

The ACMA Investigates Ladbrokes Australia’s “Quick Call” and William Hill Australia’s “Click to Call”

Ladbrokes

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (the ACMA) is currently investigating bookmakers’ recent efforts to bypass the country’s ban on online in-play sports betting.

In terms of Australia’s 2001 Interactive Gambling Act, punters who wish to place in-play sports betting may only do so via telephone or in person at a betting shop.

William Hill Australia launched a “click to call” feature last month which uses voice recognition technology in order to enable punters in Australia to place in-play wagers from their mobile devices without making a traditional phone call.

Ladbrokes Australia thereafter launched a “QuickCall” feature which digitally synthesizes punters’ voices to enable them to make a live bet on the punter’s behalf. According to Ladbrokes, this system was the most convenient way to place a bet on a live sporting event that has ever been available with a bookmaker.

Senator Nick Xenophon, an anti-gambling advocate, expressed his intention to write to the ACMA to request that they take action against Ladbrokes Australia and William Hill Australia. At the same time The Australian reported that the ACMA had received many complaints in this regard and that they were in the process of investigating the issue.

According to Xenophon, Ladbrokes and William Hill were effectively “giving the middle finger” to the 2001 law and that he did not rule out pushing for a legislative rewrite in order to clarify that such workarounds are illegal.

The previous federal government was toying with the idea of revising the 2001 law in order to allow for online in-play betting as well as poker but failed to follow through on its plans.

Ladbrokes to Title Sponsor Scottish Professional Football League

Ladbrokes

Ladbrokes, a world leader in online betting and gaming, has announced that it has entered into a deal in terms of which it will become the new title sponsor of the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL).

The deal between Ladbrokes and SPFL will run for a period of two years, from the 2015-16 through to the end of the 2016-17 campaign.

The Scottish Professional Football League, which operates the top four divisions in the country, has been without a main sponsor ever since it was formulated in June of last year through a merger between the Scottish Premier League and the Scottish Football League.

The new Ladbrokes deal, will however, see the four leagues that are covered by the SPFL being known as the Ladbrokes Premiership, Ladbrokes Championship, Ladbrokes League 1 and Ladbrokes League 2.

In terms of the deal, Ladbrokes will also have rights across all four leagues and 42 clubs and the company plans to use these various rights in order to host a number of activations.

Prior to the confirmation of Ladbrokes’ new deal, Betfred, a rival bookmaker, had also been linked with possible sponsorship of the SPFL.

Neil Doncaster, the Chief Executive of SPFL, stated that as an established and respected leading brand in its very competitive marketplace, Ladbrokes is a perfect partner for the SPFL and that they have a shared vision of a positive future for professional league football in Scotland.

The Chief Executive Officer of Ladbrokes, Jim Mullen, added that this new partnership will help to propel Ladbrokes and the SPFL to new heights and will put them at the heart of Scottish football throughout the year.

Ladbrokes Withdraws from Russia, Romania, Finland and Portugal

Ladbrokes

Ladbrokes, one of the leading UK bookmakers, has revealed that it has ceased its operations in Russia, Romania, Finland and Portugal due to changes in legislation. Although the decision already came into effect on Wednesday, 31st December, 2014, the bookmaker is giving customers from these countries until Monday, 12th January, 2015 to withdraw their funds and has promised to facilitate their requests.

Ladbrokes withdrew operations in several countries during last year and in October, 2014 pulled out of Canada, Switzerland, Hungary and Norway.

The bookmaker’s withdrawals made from the various countries have been due to the hardships related to regulation in the countries that they withdrew from. Ladbrokes withdrawal from Russia could, however, be tied to the state of the Russian ruble and the backlash on the economy in that country. Economists have predicted a recession in Russia for this year and further with the last two weeks seeing the Russian currency taking extended losses.

Ladbroke’s withdrawal from Romania is probably due to the Romanian government’s new online gaming laws which was passed recently which has raised the licensing fee for online casinos from RON 400,000 TO 448,000 (€100,000) per year.

The bookmaker’s withdrawal from Finland is due to the long and problematic history that it has with the Finnish government regarding their operation in the country. Several strong monopolies control the domestic gambling activity in the country, despite the European Commission decrees about Finland’s Lottery Act not conforming to EU guidelines.

Portugal’s new online gambling laws also threaten to impose high operating costs when it comes into effect this year.

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.