Hot copy: Stories that caught our eye this week from around the sector
Gaming in his genes
There is only one place to start this week and that is with the 2000-word profile of 888 chief executive Itai Pazner in last week’s edition of The Sunday Times.
The Israeli revealed he had been on a clandestine tour of William Hill shops up and down the country after purchasing the UK bookmaker’s assets in a £2.2bn deal.
Pazner said the staff didn’t recognise him, but they soon will as their new boss, with the acquisition scheduled to complete in Q1 2022.
Pazner towers over the top of the piece dressed head-to-toe in double denim. He also said he was paid $2.6m including compensation last year and recently bought his wife a Tesla.
Grant’s rise to Paddy Power
From one profile to another, we segue to an Irish Independent write-up on Flutter Entertainment UK and Ireland CEO Conor Grant.
Grant takes a trip down memory lane and recalls starting his 22-year gambling industry career at Paddy Power in 1998 on a graduate programme.
He worked alongside 14 colleagues in the firm’s telephone business with about seven or eight staff in the race room – all in a small head office above a shoe shop in Tallaght.
The nostalgia is short-lived as the focus soon turns to regulation, before Grant is confronted about the Sky Vegas email error that occurred during Safer Gambling Week.
Maltese firms prepare to take a hike
The industry sat up and took notice of a Times of Malta story this week that revealed 20 large foreign companies may have to start paying treble in corporate tax from 2023.
Government sources said between 18 and 20 international firms, with annual revenue in excess of €750m, could see their tax exposure rise from 5% to 15%.
This would apply from January 2023, with Malta forced to adopt a global minimum tax rate imposed by the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development.
Readers tried to join the dots to work out which gambling firms could be affected by the tax hike, from Kindred Group to Evolution.
Winners need not apply
Finally, DraftKings CEO Jason Robins caused uproar with customers this week after suggesting the business did not want punters who were only gambling to make a profit.
While the comments did not come as a surprise to those within the iGaming sector, Twitter users had a hard time getting their heads around that business model.
Robins said DraftKings was only after customers who bet for entertainment during an investor call with Canaccord Genuity, which was most comprehensively covered by Legal Sports Report.
Robins was also particularly vocal on Twitter, telling “haters” and sellers to “check back in 2025” from his personal account, now complete with a Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT profile picture.