Standards Matter… William Hill’s Bowcock seeks to follow Flint’s path

first_img UKGC launches fourth National Lottery licence competition August 28, 2020 Submit Share Scott Longley Scott Longley details why industry leaders Philip Bowcock (Group CEO of William Hill Plc) and Richard Flint (CEO of Sky Betting & Gaming) share an aligned vision and solidarity in raising industry social responsibility standards. In 2018, the betting industry has more to lose than just a punishing FOBTs judgement…______________William Hill has just endured one of those weeks. By the time chief executive Philip Bowcock stood in front of analysts last Friday to delve deeper into the annual results, the company had been hauled over the coals for past misdemeanours by the UK Gambling Commission and given a whipping by the press for its trouble.On Monday the Commission announced that William Hill was guilty of “systemic” failures in its anti-money laundering and social responsibility processes, to such a degree that the company has to pay a penalty package of at least £6.2m.The multiple failures occurred between 2014 and 2016 and included at least one instance of a customer using money from the proceeds of crime to fund their accounts. As the Gambling Commission said, the penalty figure levied “reflects the seriousness of the breaches.”The timing was not helpful to the gambling industry’s reputation with the wider public, a fact that was seemingly acknowledged in the company results statement. “A key pillar of our strategy moving forward will be to act in a sustainable way,” the company said. “In the months ahead we will be taking a number of steps as a matter of urgency to ensure we embed this approach in our business for the long term.”The sentiments echo those of Richard Flint, the chief executive of Sky Betting & Gaming, who took the opportunity of a speech at the recent ICE exhibition in London to extol exactly the same sustainability message.Bowcock says William Hill’s failings exposed by the Commission were “clearly not good enough” but he steers clear of believing that similar incidents won’t happen again. While William Hill has instigated new processes to improve what was clearly a system not fit for purpose, he suggests that the new regime won’t be 100 percent effective.  “There is always the potential for the wrong thing to happen,” he says. “No process can be fool-proof.”On the wider message sustainability and social responsibility, though, he is very clear that he agrees with one of Flint’s key messages that the industry as a whole has not done itself any favours when it comes to social responsibility and problem gambling. He suggests the fractured – some would say dysfunctional – nature of the gambling industry in the UK is at the root of the problems.“We are only as good as the lowest common denominator,” he says. “I have to say the disjointed nature of the gambling industry is quite staggering. We are all in the same boat here.” He includes the National Lottery in this and noted that it had to date failed to pay a voluntary amount to problem gambling charity GambleAware.He adds that he talks to Flint at SBG “regularly.” “We are aligned with the fact that this is an area where no company should be going it alone.”That sense of cross-industry solidarity has somewhat broken down in recent times, of course. The biggest bone of contention remains the ongoing and seemingly forever looming decision in the UK government’s triennial review. Most industry and analyst expectations are that we are now in the final stages of the government finally coming to a decision over the maximum stake that will be allowed for B2 gaming machines.It has been a bruising process for all involved. Most notably, it has left the relationship between the high-street bookmakers and the politicians of all parties shattered and broken and for that Bowcock suggests that previous management at the big bookmakers should shoulder their share of the blame.“Four or five years back, the relationship between the gambling industry and the government has been pretty antagonistic,” he says. “There was a mutual distrust. It’s not as bad now, but it could be a lot better.”Improvements, if they are to be made, will have to wait until the triennial review is out of the way but Bowcock signals a warning for the online sector. “The online guys now see what is going on with FOBTs is going to be landing on their doorstep pretty quickly,” he says.The implication is that the anti-FOBT lobby isn’t going to stop campaigning even if it gets its preferred maximum £2 stake. More to the point for global businesses such as William Hill the regulatory issues it faces multiply with every new jurisdiction added to the business map. The company has hopes that the SCOTUS cards will fall in its favour in the US, but in Australia, a new credit betting ban and the prospect of the introduction of a PoC regime led to a £238m writedown of the Australian business in this year’s results. It is more proof, as if William Hill needed it, that regulation comes with its costs as much as its benefits.________________________Industry social responsibility standards and governance dynamics will be discussed and debated at the upcoming Betting on Football Conference (#bofcon2018 – 20-23 March – London- Stamford Bridge). Click on the below banner for more information. Camelot aims for ‘Big September’ supporting a high street recovery August 26, 2020 Related Articles StumbleUpon Share SBC Magazine Issue 10: Kaizen Gaming rebrand and focus for William Hill CEO August 25, 2020last_img read more

Arsenal target Chelsea’s Michael Essien on deadline day

first_imgWELCOME to Frenetic Friday, the last day of the summer transfer window and the last chance for clubs to snap up some last-minute bargains and/or offload some of that unwanted stock that’s been sitting around for months just gathering dust.But enough of Marouane Chamakh. Let’s begin with the Daily Mail’s extraordinary claim that Arsenal – who remain hopeful of dumping Chamakh on Turkish club Besiktas and Nicklas Bendtner on Juventus – have contacted Chelsea with a view to bringing midfielder Michael Essien to the Emirates.Apparently Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has identified the 29-year-old Ghana international as the sort of no-nonsense defensive midfielder who will give his side a greater physical presence.The Mail says “strides have been taken” to negotiate a season-long loan deal for the Blues man, similar to the deal that last season saw Yossi Benayoun move from the Bridge to the Emirates. Chelsea boss Roberto di Matteo is believed to be happy with the idea now that Essien is a bit-part player at the Bridge.Everton had earlier in the week made a play for Essien but the Mail reports that the move fell through on Thursday with neither the Toffees nor Chelsea able to agree on the terms of the proposed deal.Elsewhere and The Sun is just one of many papers to report that Andy Carroll’s “Anfield agony” is over. The 23-year-old striker is leaving Liverpool for West Ham, who have persuaded the Reds to let Carroll join them with the option of making the move permanent at the end of the season. Carroll left Newcastle for Liverpool in January 2011 in a £35m deal, but the England frontman will leave Merseyside for just £1m. If he and the Hammers get on then the London club will pay Liverpool a further £16m next May.“It’s great to be at West Ham, I just can’t wait to get started now,” said Carroll. “I want to be playing games and hopefully scoring goals.”Meanwhile The Guardian claims that Liverpool will look to fill the gap left in their ranks by Carroll’s departure with the signing of Daniel Sturridge today. The Reds are hopeful of securing a loan deal for the 22-year-old striker in the coming hours.Speaking on Thursday night after his side had defeated Hearts in the Europa League, Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers said: “Hopefully tomorrow we can do some work and get something complete because we certainly need it. I am hoping for one or two. We need one, that’s for sure.”The Guardian says that one player Liverpool look unlikely to land is Fulham’s Clint Dempsey. The American says it’s “highly unlikely” a deal will be done before tonight’s 11pm deadline because Liverpool can’t meet Fulham’s asking price of £7m. Finally, the Mirror claims that there will be comings and goings at Manchester City today as the Sky Blues wave goodbye to Nigel de Jong and welcome Maicon.Apparently the former will be heading to AC Milan while Inter Milan right-back Maicon will be travelling in the opposite direction in a £3m deal.The 31-year-old South American is tipped to sign a two-year deal worth £90,000-a-week, while Dutchman de Jong will join AC Milan in a deal the Mirror says comes in at around £3.5m.The capture of Maicon follows City’s signing of Swansea striker Scott Sinclair, the 23-year-old agreeing terms with the Premier League champions and the Swans also happy with the £8m deal. ·last_img read more

Rookie Megna lifts Penguins past Canes, 3-1

first_imgPittsburgh Penguins’ Jayson Megna (59) and Brandon Sutter (16) look for a shot against Carolina Hurricanes goalie Justin Peters (35) as Hurricanes’ Justin Faulk (27) defends during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Raleigh, N.C., Monday, Oct. 28, 2013. Hurricanes’ Andrej Sekera (4), of Slovakia looks for possession at left. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)  by Joedy McCrearyAP Sports WriterRALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — When he eventually tells the story of his first career goal, Pittsburgh rookie Jayson Megna won’t embellish any of the details. Sidney Crosby did set it up, and it did ice a victory that ended a losing streak.That it clicked in off his shin pad? No big deal.Megna scored his first goal on a deflection after he also earned his first assist, helping the Penguins snap a three-game slide by beating the Carolina Hurricanes 3-1 on Monday night.“I told him, ‘That’s not the way you usually dream of scoring your first one,’” Crosby said. “But you take them any way you can get them.”Chris Kunitz and Tanner Glass also scored for the Metropolitan Division-leading Penguins. Brooks Orpik had three assists, Crosby added two and Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 20 shots.Pittsburgh ended its longest losing streak since 2011-12 by defeating the Hurricanes for the fourth straight time.“We had some lapses for periods (during the slide) and that hurt us and ended up costing us the game,” Crosby said. “When you do good things, you don’t want to spoil it with some errors that were mental errors, and we bounced back here tonight and got a big win.”Nathan Gerbe scored a power-play goal for Carolina, which lost its third straight. The Hurricanes remained tied with the New York Islanders for second in the division — five points behind the Penguins — after putting just three shots on Fleury in the third period.“We kind of got pushed out of the game. We weren’t able to generate anything in the third period,” coach Kirk Muller said. “Prior to that, they played a heavier game than we did. They won more battles. They grinded it harder, and their big boys at the end of the night were on the scoresheet. … Some of our guys have to start contributing.”Carolina’s Justin Peters made 26 saves in his second straight start in place of the injured Cam Ward.Ward is expected to miss at least two more weeks after sustaining an unspecified lower-body injury during a loss at Minnesota last week, and including that game, the Hurricanes have lost all three games since he was hurt. Carolina has allowed at least three goals in four straight.“He battled. He played hard,” Muller said of Peters. “We broke down on a couple mistakes that cost us goals, and we had opportunities to capitalize almost similar plays and we didn’t capitalize.”Offense had become a bit tougher to find for the Penguins, which scored 13 goals in its previous two victories over the Hurricanes — including a 5-2 win earlier this month in Pittsburgh keyed by a hat trick from former Hurricane Jussi Jokinen.During the losing streak, the Penguins averaged 38 shots but managed four total goals.Kunitz scored the go-ahead goal with 3:36 left in the second, cashing in on some nifty cross-ice passing, taking a feed from Crosby and beating Peters high to make it 2-1.Megna — a 23-year-old undrafted center playing in his second career NHL game — then made it a two-goal game with 12:49 left.A Crosby shot clicked first off a Carolina defender, then off Megna’s right leg and into the net — and the occasion was marked by the inadvertent sounding of the PNC Arena goal horn.“Shot it right off my shin pad,” Megna said. “Not how I dreamed it up, but I’ll take them any way I can get them.”Megna’s first career point came on the Penguins’ first goal. Glass put them up 1-0 at 8:25 of the first off a neutral-zone draw, whipping the rebound of Megna’s shot past Peters. Both of Glass’ goals this season have come against the Hurricanes.Gerbe tied it at 16:03 with a 5-on-3 goal, finishing from point-blank range after some tic-tac-toe passing from Alexander Semin and rookie Elias Lindholm.That came after Pittsburgh had the game’s first nine shots on goal. Carolina didn’t put its first shot on Fleury until Ron Hainsey’s soft backhand with about 8½ minutes left drew some sarcastic cheers from the crowd.The Penguins had a lull of their own in the second, failing to put a shot on Peters until Megna landed one about 8½ minutes in.NOTES: Crosby has at least one point in 10 of Pittsburgh’s 12 games. … Semin has points in four straight games. … The Penguins scratched D Rob Scuderi with a lower-body injury, ending his streak of 276 consecutive regular-season games played — the longest streak on the team.___Follow Joedy McCreary on Twitter at http://twitter.com/joedyaplast_img read more

Coletti, Hoodikoff, Courson top Zone Men’s Qualifying tournament

first_imgJosh Coletti of Granite Pointe, Jordan Hoodikoff of Christina Lake and Don Courson, golfing out of the Castlegar course, grabbed the top prizes at the Zone One West Kootenay Men’s Qualifying Tournament Sunday in Christina Lake.Coletti and Hoodikoff each fired 8-over-par 152 to claim the top two spots on the Zone One West Kootenay Men’s Amateur team.Meanwhile, Courson edged out Ian Turner in the Senior Men’s qualifying tournament.Courson shot 163 in the 36-hole tournament that started Saturday at the Granite Pointe at Nelson course. Five players qualified for the Zone One West Kootenay Men’s team.Joining Coletti and Hoodikoff are Tanner Kopan Christina Lake, A. J. Cooper of Granite Pointe and Scott Podovelnikoff of Castlegar.Kopan and Cooper tied at 155 while Podovelnikoff was six shots off the leaders at 158.The B.C. Men’s Amateur is July 24-27 at the Swan-e-set Bay Resort in Pitt Meadows.On the Senior Men’s side of the tournament, Leif Petersen of Christina Lake, Turner of Christina Lake and Salmo’s Rick Thomas join Courson.The B.C. Senior Men’s Championship is July 16 – 18 at the Nanaimo Golf Club on Vancouver Island.last_img read more