Europeans enjoy a gambling luxury that most Americans do not: the online sports book. For years, gamblers "across the pond" have legally wagered cash on everything from rugby matches to sumo wrestling tournaments to the next American presidential race.
Just as the American gambling industry continues to live in a state of flux, the European industry has been experiencing its share of ups and downs. Recent events surrounding the UK bookie Betfred and Irish sports book Paddy Power illustrate this.
Betfred Gets New Leadership
A new commander has assumed the reigns at UK bookie Betfred. The man's name is John Haddock, and he's "thrilled" to be in the new position, according to reports. Haddock isn't new to Betfred; previous to this appointment, he served as the group's managing director. Haddock told reporters that his game plan for Betfred is to “continue growing the company across all platforms,” including the ever-popular digital platform.
Betfred's Digital Managing Director Steps Down
Just as Haddock stepped up to the plate, the company's current digital managing director curiously announced his intention to step down. Chris Sheffield will cease his managerial duties at the end of August, although he will continue to work on other Betfred projects with the company's charismatic founder, Fred Done. Sheffield leaves behind a job well done; over the course of his tenure as digital manager, the company enjoyed a 42 percent increase in online revenue. No specific plans to appoint Sheffield's replacement have been announced by the company as of yet.
Betfred's Online Marketing Manager Leaves Without Explanation
Betfred's online marketing manager of under one year, Adele Lawton, recently left her position with the company as well. Betfred has yet to make a statement on Lawton's departure, but it is speculated that the company's recent acquisition of a new advertising agency could have something to do with it. The London advertising company Brothers and Sisters recently won the bid to become the company's newest advertising agency, and reports indicate that some big campaigning changes are in store.
New Advertising Company Takes Over Betfred
Brothers and Sisters has already delved deep into its work with Betfred, assisting the company with a new advertising campaign that will align with the upcoming season of Premier League Football in August. The managing director of Petfre, Betfred's parent company, expressed confidence in the agency's ability to turn things around for the company. Rakesh Chablani indicated that the UK's gambling landscape is an “ever-increasing competitive marketplace,” but that Brothers and Sisters' new advertising angle will “tackle (the) challenges head on.”
Betfred has been taking bets from UK citizens since its inception in 1967. The compnay's co-founders, Fred and Peter Done, hail from the UK. The home office operates out of Cheshire, England. Customers can place sports bets through Betfred's sports book by setting up an Internet account with the company. Betfred also offers poker, bingo, and other exciting casino games online.
Owner of “The Tote”
The Betfred corporation also owns The Tote, a British bookmaker headquartered in Greater Manchester that operates over 500 live betting shops and solicits bets at most of Britain's race courses. The Tote was the property of British government from 1928 until 2011, when Betfred purchased it for £265m. According to racing minister John Penrose, The Tote's evolution from a government-owned group to privatized betting entity benefited taxpayers to the tune of £90m and also gave a financial boost to the UK's generalized racing industry. The Tote had officially been “for sale” since 1997, but the UK certainly took its sweet time entertaining potential buyers. In the end, Betfred beat out powerful contenders like Sir Martin Broughton, a former British Horse Racing Board chairman who had wanted to manipulate the business on the junior stock market.
Paddy Power: Major Data Breach Threatens Customer Privacy
An unsettling incident in which some of Irish bookmaker Paddy Power's valuable customer data was compromised may have happened four years ago, but the incident is just now coming to light. Apparently, the personal information of close to 650,000 Paddy Power customers was hacked back in 2010 by an individual from Canada. Only in the past few months did Paddy Power act on this information, perhaps because they weren't aware of the problem until then.
Early in July, Paddy Power solicited the help of Ontario policemen to get the stolen data back from the unnamed Canadian. With the help of two court orders, the Irish company was able to seize the hacker's IT assets, bank account information, and financial records. Damaging customer records were deleted and the suspect was questioned by authorities. According to Paddy Power, customers' user names, email/home addresses, contact numbers, and security questions/answers were stolen. Individuals' credit and debit card details, however, have remained in tact.
Also according to Paddy Power, the stolen information was not enough for a malicious entity to gain access to individual Paddy Power accounts. Furtnermore, no customer who opened a Paddy Power account after 2010 would have been affected by the security breach.
About Paddy Power
Paddy Power is one of the world's most well-known bookmakers. Founded in 1988, the Dublin-based company has earned notoriety for its tendency to advertise odds for bets on unconventional things. A qualifying person who visited Paddy Power's online site today could wager money on who will win the U.S. presidential election of 2016, what the next Pope's first name will be, and who murdered Lucy Beale on the TV show East Enders. He or she could also wager money on more standard sports issues, such as who will win the current singles tennis tournaments going on in Austria.
Speculation that UK sports book giant William Hill might merge with Paddy Power has recently come to light in the media. If the two companies unite, they will likely become a powerful force in the sports betting industry. In an economy where sports betting is not a first priority for many struggling individuals, this could be good news for the European gambling industry as a whole.