Despite the ongoing clampdown on problem gambling being imposed by the UK government, GVC Holdings, the firm that owns Ladbrokes and Coral, say that they expect the former to turnover a bigger than expected profit in the third quarter of 2019.
Unsurprisingly, online betting is on the rise, up by 12%, while online sport betting revenues rose by 16%. Because of this, GVC revised their profit guidance for the full year to between £670-£680 million, from £650-£670 million. Because of this, GVC shares were up nearly 4% in early trading.
GVC Chief Executive Kenneth Alexander said;
”I am delighted that the group’s financial performance has allowed us to upgrade our full-year earnings before interest and tax expectations again. Online momentum remains strong across all major territories, with net gaming revenue up 12% in the quarter despite the prior period containing part of the World Cup.”
900 Betting Shops Still Likely To Close
The good news is unlikely to provide any last minute reprieve for the 3,000 betting shops currently on death row. These shops nationwide were dealt a potentially fatal blow when the maximum stake on fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) was cut from £100 to £2.
GVC are still expecting to close 900 over the next two years because of the FOBT cut, but also reported that high street gamblers were finding other, more traditional, ways to gamble as proven by the 7% rise in betting inside shops.
The 5,000 high street jobs GVC have put at risk will coincide with William Hill’s plans to shut 700 of their outlets too, putting a further 4,500 on the endangered list. Already this year, GVC have closed 198 outlets, both Coral and Ladbrokes.
In the online space however GVC have performed strongly while still championing their social responsibilities with their Changing for the Bettor campaign, one of many new drives into combating problem gambling.
Ex England Goal Keeper David James Signs For Bet Regret
The ex-England and Liverpool goalkeeper David James is to become the new face of another problem gambling awareness movement, the GambleAware’s Bet Regret campaign. With Premier League Football on shut down for the next two weeks for the international break, GambleAware plan to bombard bored supporters with messages of the dangers of gambling.
This is a planned, strategic attack by the gambling funding body after they recognised that the break in domestic action can lead to boredom which can, in turn, lead to betting. Indeed, a 2019 report by public opinion and data company YouGov outlines that more than 25 million people in the UK support a Premier League or Championship club. As such, the two week gap can leave some fans bored.
Boredom is one of the factors, along with being drunk and chasing losses, that GambleAware directly apportion blame to when talking about placing impulsive bets which is why they have recruited the former Aston Villa, Portsmouth and West Ham number one in to help.
In tandem, the Football Supporters’ Association (FSA), which works alongside Bet Regret, will broadcast several Beat The Break Brain Busters over the same period to occupy bored minds.
James had this to say;
“Supporting Safer Gambling within football is something that is important to me. There is so much exposure to betting and it is increasingly easy to bet impulsively, so I want to encourage football fans to think twice about how they are betting. Helping fans beat the break this October is only the start and I’m looking forward to working with GambleAware and the FSA this season to raise awareness of Bet Regret.”
Changing for the Bettor and BetRegret are just two of the ongoing campaigns being wagered in a war against gambling as the powers that be look to crack down on threats to problem gamblers.
ASA Hit Casumo For Targeting Problem Gamblers
One such threat to problem gamblers was identified as an advertisement for Casumo that has landed the Malta-based online gaming operator in hot water. The Swedish firm have been penalised by the UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for a Google sponsored search result that returned when users searched “how to unsubscribe from all gambling, which drew complaints.
The advert included the lines “Welcome Bonus to New Players Casumo 100% and 20 Free Spins” and “Create an Account & Play now” and was withdrawn immediately after the complaint was made concerning Casumo who denied it had irresponsibly targeted players.
Instead, Casumo explained that they felt that unsubscribe referred to mailing list removal rather than gambling self-exclusion, a statement that ASA wholeheartedly disagreed with, saying;
“We considered that by searching for ‘how to unsubscribe from all gambling’ a consumer was likely to be seeking further information about the tools needed to opt out from receiving gambling ads, or about the tools needed to self-exclude from and/or block gambling websites, with a view to potentially making use of those tools.
We considered such consumers would be likely to include vulnerable persons looking to restrict their exposure to gambling outlets and ads for gambling. We noted that the Code required that marketing communications for gambling should have particular regard to the need to protect vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited.”