The Guardian newspaper has earned the ire of the Responsible Gambling Trust (RGT) for misrepresenting UK bookmakers’ willingness to assist the RGT’s research into the effects of fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBT). The Guardian has been one of the more vocal media outlets leading the charge against the alleged FOBT menace stalking UK high streets, albeit usually in far less hyperbolic terms than the Daily Mail. Last week, the Guardian published an article claiming that UK bookies were dragging their heels on supplying an FOBT for the RGT to study.
On Monday, the Guardian published a letter written by RGT CEO Marc Etches, who said it was “completely false to argue” that bookies were “frustrating our research.” Etches says the research referenced in the original Guardian article “was commissioned by a now defunct body and inherited by the RGT” in 2012. Etches said he was “proud the RGT has secured the cooperation of the gambling industry” in its ongoing research project, which involves “the full cooperation of 13 machine operators, including the five largest bookmakers.”
It’s worth noting that the Guardian’s stance against bookmakers is largely based on their FOBTs’ notorious habit of offering candy to children, not the bookies’ online betting sites. Which is a good thing, because the Guardian just launched its own sports betting site, Gowager.co.uk. The Guardian’s gambling gambit follows the lead set by the Sun and Mirror newspapers, which launched their LeoVegas-powered mobile casino offerings last month. Seriously, what’s keeping the Mail‘s betting site, on which you’re required to match the celebrity with their clandestinely shot side-boob photo?
At present, Gowager’s offering is a desktop-only affair, but a mobile version is reportedly in the works. Markets are currently limited to football, horseracing, tennis and boxing, but the site’s rules section suggests darts, rugby, snooker, cricket, NFL and other sports are coming soon. The site will undoubtedly get promo’d to the max via the Guardian‘s sports coverage.
The Gowager site is powered by FSB Technology, which was founded by Sam Lawrence and David McDowell, the latter having also founded GameAccountNetwork. FSB recently announced a deal to provide Genting Alderney with an online sportsbook. More recently, FSB announced it had appointed former Sportingbet chairman Mark Blandford (pictured) as its chairman. Blandford helped lead FSB’s latest round of financing, which saw the company raise £2.6m. Guess a ‘thank you’ card wasn’t enough.