William Hill has reported that it made a profit on the Grand National, despite the heavily fancied favourite Tiger Roll romping to victory. Gordon Elliott’s star stayer became the first horse since Red Rum in 1974 to win the National twice in a row, much to the delight of a number of punters. However, the public also backed many of Tiger Roll’s rivals and William Hill revealed was in the black after the biggest race of the year. Paddy Power Betfair also said it fared very well on the Grand National, but Betway spokesman Alan Alger said: “As far as the National is concerned, Tiger Roll's win goes down as one of the biggest blows we have ever suffered.”
Ladbrokes Coral was also delighted by the outcome of the Grand National. It said Tiger Roll was the most heavily backed horse in the race, but his defeat was “nowhere near as bad as might have been expected”. PR director Simon Clare said: “He was the best backed horse in the race but that was mitigated in part by his short price, and we also laid a fantastic spread of money across all 40 runners. The likes of Outlander, Blow By Blow, Rock The Kasbah, Tea For Two and Magic Of Light would have been much worse results than the favourite in our book at the off.” He added that both Ladbrokes and Coral saw an upturn in online wagers, while betting shop turnover also rose for the first time in years. “Betting shop staff everywhere deserve great praise and recognition for the amazing service they provided customers, and racing, on this showcase day for the sport,” he added.
The Sunday Times has revealed that the chairman and chief executive of Ladbrokes Coral owner GVC Holdings signed off each other’s share sales totalling £20 million last month. There is no suggestion of wrongdoing, but Lee Feldman and Kenny Alexander come under fire for their decision to sell, as it saw the firm’s share price plummet 20% in a single day. Alexander said he would not have sold the shares if he knew how badly the market would react. “It’s done now. We need to just move on and recover the lost ground,” he added. “ I still own more shares than every executive in the sector added together. I sold shares for the first time and people over-reacted.”
Labour’s deputy leader, Tom Watson, has called for online betting sites to perform more rigorous checks before punters place bets. The UK Gambling Commission is investigating a case involving LeoVegas, which The Guardian has accused of goading a recovering addict to gamble away £20,000 on a sister site. The individual used his mother’s card without permission and Watson said: “It makes no sense for gambling companies to be doing ID and affordability checks after gamblers have lost huge sums, rather than before they’ve placed the bets. The whole system seems the wrong way round. We also need to see immediate action to scrap credit card betting and end the practice of bombarding gambling addicts with gambling ads.”
Danish gambling regulator Spillemyndigheden has launched a crackdown on a number of sites operating illegal skin betting on popular esport CS:GO. Denmark is the home of the world’s best team, Astralis, and interest in the Counter-Strike is soaring there, so 25 different sites have cashed in by launching skin betting on it. “We use our authority to block websites on an on-going basis, said Spillemyndigheden director Birgitte Sand. “We do this to protect the gaming providers who are authorised to offer games in Denmark, but also to protect the players. Here we are focusing in particular on sites that offer skin betting, as they often target children and adolescents under the age of 18.”