BUSINESS

Betfred shop closures; Bet365 sponsors Haydock; GMG launches BestoftheBets

TAGs: Bet365, Betfred, gaming media group, Webis Holdings

betfred-bet365-webis-gmgBetfred has revealed which 25 of its betting shops will be closed following its acquisition of the Tote last July. Betfred had 840 shops prior to the Tote purchase, which added 517 more. Some Betfred and Tote shops were located within 800 yards of each other, which prompted the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) to express competition concerns, specifically regarding a “significant reduction in choice of betting shops for consumers” in some local areas. The shops Betfred has targeted for closure are located in Manchester, Blackpool, Liverpool, Hull and Lincoln, but OFT will require Betfred to have buyers for the sites lined up before it approves the deal.

Bet365 has extended its sponsorship of Haydock Park’s Old Newton Cup and Lancashire Oaks through 2014. The Stoke-based betting outfit first sponsored the two feature races in 2003, expanding that deal in 2008 to include the whole card on the opening Saturday each July. The new three-year deal will enable the course to increase the Old Newton Cup’s prize money from £60k to £100k.

Isle of Man-based online gambling operator Webis Holdings has appointed Sir James Mellon as non-executive director, subject to approval by the IOM Gambling Supervision Commission. The former UK ambassador to Denmark and consul general in New York will take the seat on the board formerly occupied by his son Jim, who’s leaving after eight years with the AIM-listed firm.

Gaming Media Group (GMG) has decided to enter the sports betting affiliate market. GMG, which owns The Poker Channel plus online brands PokerHeaven and BingoJoy, will launch bestofthebets.com, a sports betting info portal focused (initially) on European football. The site is staffed by six full-time journalists and claims to be the first to offer betting advice on all 92 English teams. BOTB editor Mike Holden told Gaming Intelligence that the site is “very much still at stage one at present” but new content areas will be rolled out in the coming weeks.

A spokesman for the Diocese of Westminster has rubbished reports that the All Saints Pastoral Centre, London Colney, was being sold to the American owner of Poker.com for £8m. The cash-strapped Diocese closed the Victorian-age Centre in January 2011 because it couldn’t afford the cost of upgrading its facilities, which sit on 60 acres of scenic grounds. It’s been suggested that the Poker.com rumors, which surfaced last week in The Herts Advertiser, were spread by people opposed to any sale of the Centre, and were hoping the idea of a poker-playing Yank sullying their shrine would sufficiently gin up the faithful to break out the torches and pitchforks. Didn’t work, but God bless ‘em for trying…

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