Betfred donated made £1.25 million in profits on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival and it donated it all to the Royal Manchester Hospital. Tuesday was a tough day for punters as only one of the seven favourites won and there were a number of big upsets at the meeting. Yet it was great news for patients at the hospital, which needs £4 million to pay for equipment to treat children suffering brain tumours, traumatic brain injuries and problems with the central nervous system and epilepsy. Betfred boss Fred Done lost his wife to cancer and he is now on a fundraising drive for the hospital. “From my own sad experience, I know how important it is to have world-class equipment available to help save the lives of your loved ones,” he said. “The new scanner will save the lives of seriously ill children brought to Manchester from all over the country and that is a fitting tribute to Mo’s memory. I feel privileged that I have been able to help.”
An ad for Sky Bet has felt the wrath of the advertising watchdog for implying that people with strong sporting knowledge are likely to be successful gamblers. The ad featured Sky Sports presenter Jeff Stelling, who asked viewers how big their “sports noggin” is. The Advertising Standards Authority banned the ad because it "placed strong emphasis on the role of sports knowledge in determining betting success". It added: “We considered that the ad gave an erroneous perception of the extent of a gambler’s control over betting success, by placing undue emphasis on the role of sports knowledge. We considered that this gave consumers an unrealistic and exaggerated perception of the level of control they would have over the outcome of a bet and that could lead to irresponsible gambling behaviour.”
888 saw adjusted profit before tax increase 11% to £65.6 million in 2018 as its casino and sport divisions flourished. It suffered a 37% drop in poker revenues, but 888 Sport is going strong in a period of aggressive expansion from the operator. EBITDA was also up 6%. “Despite headwinds in some areas of the business, the financial performance in 2018 was resilient and we achieved a record earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation outcome for the year,” said new chief executive Itai Pazner. “The group achieved continued growth across several regulated markets, primarily in continental Europe, underpinned by good momentum in casino and sport.”
The Irish Bookmakers Association has pledged to give €1 million a year to a new body designed to tackle gambling addiction. The Gambling Awareness Trust will be headed up by former junior agriculture minister Yom Hayes and the board includes a retired policeman, a retired judge, an addiction treatment expert and former minister of state for primary care, mental health and disability Kathleen Lynch.
Bet Victor has appointed Matt Parkes as director of brand and creative as it bids to boost consumer awareness of its site. He joins from the Betsson group and he is tasked with building up brand recognition and building on Bet Victor’s sponsorship of Liverpool FC. Andreas Meinrad, chief executive of BetVictor, said: “Matt’s appointment comes at a significant moment in our brand’s growth. These past few years have been among the most important for the business in terms of developing our brand proposition and assets, and we are looking forward to welcoming him to the team. His extensive marketing experience will be crucial for helping us to grow the brand even further.”