UK bookies Ladbrokes have extended their relationship with sportsbook software provider OpenBet until 2016. The two parties have been joined at the hip since 1998, making this one of the more durable online gambling marriages. Under the new deal, OpenBet will continue to provide Lads with online sportsbook and games products, only now it will do so in tandem with Playtech, with whom Lads inked a five-year licensing deal in March.
OpenBet’s new CEO Jeremy Thompson-Hill said the deal would help ‘rightfully cement’ Lads’ place in the online gaming space, which hopefully doesn’t mean Lads’ languishing online offering will never be able to extricate its feet from the cement shoes it appears to have been wearing these past few years.
In August, a defiant Lads’ CEO Richard Glynn warned his competitors that Lads was making “good operational progress” in revamping its online offering. Glynn said that once Playtech had finished installing Lads’ pectoral implants next year, Lads would become a “dangerous” and “ugly competitor” capable of kicking sand at anyone on the online gambling beach. So, for the record, when analysts are reviewing Lads’ earnings reports a year from now, any quotes about ‘truly ugly results’ are actually compliments.
Lest anyone think Lads’ online focus means the company is neglecting its terrestrial operations, the company has just selected Best Gaming Technology (BGT) to provide software to power the 1,500 self-service betting terminals (SSBT) set to be rolled out in Lads’ shops. BGT already counts Lads’ rivals Betfred, Paddy Power and William Hill among its clients and BGT’s commercial officer William Weir claimed to be delighted to make Ladbrokes its largest UK customer in BGT’s six-year tenure in the market.
Ladbrokes commercial director John Pettit said SSBTs were part of the firm’s wider strategy to rid itself of the need to pay human beings to man its shops. Okay, what Pettit actually said was the rollout was intended to “bring more of the digital experience to retail” by offering punters access to a greater variety of markets, including the increasingly popular in-play wagering.