Murray possible retirement prompts Paddy Power payout and more Bookmaker news of the week

By Martin Green13 January 2019
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Andy Murray retirement

Paddy Power has come up with another bizarre marketing stunt that saw it pay out all punters that backed Andy Murray to win the Australian Open. The former world number one announced this week that he will soon be forced to retire due to a hip injury that refuses to properly heal. He hopes to make it to Wimbledon, but he admitted that the Australian Open could be his last tournament in a tearful press conference. When the news broke, Paddy Power immediately decided to pay out anyone that put a bet on him going on to win the tournament. Fortunately for the Irish bookmaker, only 56 punters had backed the Scot to pull it off, so its marketing stunt did not cost much and it gained publicity in The Sun and on social media. Elsewhere, Paddy Power suspended betting on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle having a girl after receiving a flurry of bets to that end.

A Betfred customer won an £8,800 jackpot from a £1 stake by correctly predicting a string of FA Cup giant killings in a five-fold accumulator. Laura Ward from Newcastle picked out League Two side Newport toppling Premiership heavyweights Leicester City (10/1) and another League Two side, Oldham, beating Premiership team Fulham (9/1). She also selected non-league Barney to beat high-flying Championship outfit Sheff Utd at 9/1, plus League One’s Doncaster beating Championship side Preston at 3/1 and Millwall beating Hull at 6/5. That five-fold paid out at odds of 8,880/1 and Ward said it will change her life.“I was at home watching the Newport-Leicester game on Sunday knowing all my other four results had come in,” she said. “When Leicester equalised I thought it was all over for me, but then Newport, who obviously I was supporting, got the winner late on. I screamed out with joy at the final whistle and hugged my brother Michael who was with me watching the game. I suppose I often go for the underdog and this time it paid off.”

Ladbrokes is under fresh scrutiny over a technical glitch in November that saw a number of bets canceled. Several customers attempting to place bets were referred to the its trading department for approval, their accounts were deducted for the stake and the bets were then listed as having been cancelled. Ladbrokes said it had contacted all customers affected and made “goodwill” settlements in full on all bets that would have been winners. But the Guardian has reports of a fresh claim for a £21,500 payout being considered by the Independent Betting Adjudication Service. Paul Fairhead, a campaigner helps punters with disputes, said: “I would say dozens of customers who had a bet cancelled in this manner have still not been paid or even contacted as claimed. Tens of thousands of pounds are still at stake.” Elsewhere, Ladbrokes Coral has re-introduced its affiliate programme in partnership with Income Access.

William Hill is set to seriously ramp up its presence in Nevada after receiving initial approvals to launch seven sportsbooks across the Silver State. They will be spread across Las Vegas, Reno and the Stateline region on the Californian border. The British bookmaker currently operates sportsbooks in 107 of the 190 casinos in Nevada, and it has a presence built up a strong presence in states like Delaware, New Jersey and Mississippi, which have rolled out sportsbooks since the US Supreme Court struck down PASPA, a federal ban that previously outlawed sports wagering in every state apart from Nevada.

Gambling on credit cards could soon be banned in the UK under new proposals that culture secretary Jeremy Wright is mulling over. He said he would haul bookmakers and major retail banks into meetings to discuss concerns that up to 20% of deposits with some gambling firms are made using money that is beyond punters’ means. Meanwhile, the head of a scheme designed to help problem gamblers says she is “deeply concerned” after a BBC investigation found people were able to cheat the system. More than 50,000 people have signed up to GamStop, which was launched in April 2018 to allow addicts to ban themselves from online betting platforms, but gamblers who self-referred could still place bets online by simply changing their user details. The Guardian also ran a feature on the “dire consequences” of football’s relationship with gambling, showing that anti-industry sentiment remains a huge challenge for operators.