Hot copy: Stories that caught our eye this week from around the sector

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Drake ups the stakes

The New York Post took a deep dive this week into the sports betting history of Canadian rap sensation Drake.

While punters in the UK stress over affordability checks, at least our betting habits aren’t being put under the microscope by one of the biggest tabloid newspapers in the US.

The Hotline Bling singer is currently on a hot streak, having won a $1m wager on Israel Adesanya to win his latest UFC bout. Drake pocketed roughly $222k in profit that night.

“Drake is a celebrity whale,” professional sports bettor Bill Krackomberger told The Post. “He’s one of the most in-demand gamblers by casino marketing departments. I saw him at Aria and he was betting $200,000 a spin at roulette.”

With 39.5 million Twitter followers and a genuine passion for punting, it is easy to see why operators including Stake.com have paid mega bucks to sign Drake as a brand ambassador.

 Gambling review falls down pecking order

Unless you’ve been living under a rock this week, you will know by now that UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has resigned.

The Conservative Party leader had to be dragged kicking and screaming from Number 10 to announce his resignation and will now cling on to power until the autumn.

The timing of BoJo’s resignation has come at a particularly bad – or good – time for the UK gambling industry, depending which side of the fence you sit on.

The government had been expected to publish and rubberstamp its long-delayed review of the 2005 Gambling Act, but that timeline is now in tatters following the resignation of gambling minister Chris Philp, who on Thursday quit in protest at Johnson’s leadership.

“I strongly urge you to deliver the review in full and undiluted,” wrote Philp in the farewell letter to his former boss.

Industry paper the Racing Post points out that the sector could now be made to wait until autumn for any kind of clarity, with parliament due to start summer recess on 22 July.

The paper reports that a proposal contained within the review white paper places the threshold for enhanced affordability checks at a net loss of £2,000 over a 90-day period.

Operators appear to have escaped a worst case scenario in that case, although the prolonged uncertainty will do little to improve the share price fortunes of those listed in London.

Getting shirty

Sky News looked at the delayed review and decided to run with another angle.

Premier League clubs had been expected to vote on a voluntary ban on gambling shirt sponsorship this week but that will now be postponed until 26 July at the earliest.

The initiative was thought up by the Premier League to avoid government intervention on the issue, which has been a running theme throughout the review process.

One club executive told Sky they were grateful of the breathing space as there is a wish for further discussion about the plans before they are put to a vote. Premier League rules mean that approval from at least 14 clubs is required for a vote to be approved.

Almost half of Premier League clubs, including Newcastle United and West Ham, were sponsored by betting operators last season.

Companies including Stake.com, Dafabet and Betway can breathe a sigh of relief – for now at least.

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About the author

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Jake Evans

Jake Evans is an NCTJ-accredited journalist and editor who has covered the online gaming and sports betting industry since 2017. He is the managing editor of iGaming NEXT and has previously worked in both content and data for EGR, Stats Perform and Football Radar.

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