Betfair CEO Yu exits early; Unibet abandons Spain; Denmark ID verification hiccup

unibet-spain-denmark-betfair-david-yuFresh off the release of boffo H1 results, Betfair CEO David Yu has decided to mimic Seinfeld‘s George Costanza and exit on a high note. Yu formally announced his departure months ago, but Betfair had stated that he would stay on until Aug. 1, 2012, when new CEO Breon Corcoran finishes his stint at Paddy Power. Instead, CFO Stephen Morana will take on interim CEO duties Jan. 1, holding the fort until Corcoran arrives. Yu rationalized his premature withdrawal thusly: “To give the best continuity for Breon coming on board it makes sense for Stephen, the other executives and the management team to lead and drive the business forward. Essentially once Breon was appointed I became a lame duck.” However, as one analyst told The Guardian: “Betfair had hoped to whittle down Breon’s notice period. This is Plan B.”

Unibet is the latest company to withdraw its application for a Spanish online gambling license. The company’s Spanish-language site posted a notice that Unibet “will suspend its activities in Spain on Dec. 20, 2011.” While Unibet’s Spanish customers will be permitted to make withdrawals after that date, they will be blocked from all wagering activities and bonuses across all channels expire on the day. Quite what this means for Unibet’s sponsorship of La Liga team Valencia is unclear. Unibet recently returned to the French market after a brief sabbatical/protest over the punitive tax rates imposed on French licensees. Will their Spanish withdrawal be similarly temporary? Spanish authorities are expected to announce the country’s first round of official licensees on Dec. 19.

On Dec. 15, Denmark is expected to reveal its list of initial licensees under the country’s new online gambling regime. Applicants were recently thrown a bit of a wobbler with the news that Danish identity verification company DanID would not have its ducks in a row in time to handle player checks for gambling companies by the new program’s Jan. 1 launch date. Danish Online Gambling Association CEO Morten Ronde told that the hiccup means international companies will have to handle the checks themselves, using social security numbers plus copies of driver’s licenses, passports or other government-issued ID. Companies will be given two months in which to verify a player, but until the process is complete, players will be limited to deposits of DK 10k (€1,350) and no withdrawals will be permitted. DanID hopes to have its verification system in place by February.