Sunday May 22,2016 : U.K. NEWSPAPER HIGHLIGHTS ONLINE GAMBLING SUCCESS
But juxtapositions details with problem gambling.
The Mail on Sunday reported on the success of the online gambling industry over the weekend, but juxta positioned the detail with problem gambling examples and a quote from an academic who appears to believe that tighter government regulation is necessary.
Using 2014 Gambling Commission figures, the report claims that the UK online gambling business was worth GBP26.3 billion in 2014, up year-on-year by 28 percent and indicating "…an explosive growth fuelled by slick and relentless TV advertising and online promotions, including ‘free’ bets" and in-play betting.
It goes on to present the images and fortunes of major industry operators, including BetVictor owner Michael Tabor (GBP 600 million); Peter Coates of Bet365 (GBP3.76 billion); Pokerstars founder and former owner Isai Scheinberg and his son Mark; Betfair co-founders Andrew Black and Ed Wray whose creation is now worth GBP455 million; Noel Hayden who built Gamesys into a GBP150 million group; former PartyPoker co-owner Ruth Parasol, said to be worth GBP 720 million; Betfred's Peter Done; and Anders Strom, who founded Unibet, which posted turnover of GBP354 million last year.
Against the backdrop of this success, the newspaper recounts tragic gambling addiction stories and publishes a quote from Jim Orford, a professor at Birmingham University, who comments that online gambling popularity is climbing, with a changing demographic toward younger players and women.
He acknowledges that problem gambling rates are difficult to measure, but opines that compulsive gambling appears to be concentrated among younger people, with university students an area of concern due to their confidence that they can beat the operators.
Orford highlights the accessibility of online gambling, and notes that expecting the industry to self-regulate is ‘like putting the fox in charge of the chicken coop’.
"I am critical of the Government decision that self-regulation of the betting industry works as long as the industry coughs up bit of money towards research," Orford is quoted as saying.
"The Government does not have to put money into it themselves, but the industry is merely appearing to be concerned about problem gambling – as long as it does not materially affect its interests and profits.
"They control gambling research because they fund it. The gambling industry has very much corrupted the public sphere.
"I have said that the Government is guilty of collusion with the gambling industry. It is complicit. Corrupted is absolutely the right word.
"Online gambling is still a minority pursuit but it continues to increase. We could be in for something far more serious."
The article is complemented by an information panel on successful companies:
BET 365 – £3.76billion
The discreet Coates family made their £3.76 billion fortune byturning Bet365 into one of the largest online gambling companies. Although patriarch and Stoke City FC chairman Peter Coates takes the plaudits, his daughter Denise developed the sports betting platform in 2001, alongside her brother John.
POKERSTARS – £3.3billion
In a world where discretion comes second only to money, the father-and-son founders Isai and Mark Scheinberg take secrecy to another level. Based in the Isle of Man, PokerStars built its reputation on huge online tournaments, slick graphics and celebrity endorsements. The Scheinbergs sold their stake for £3.3 billion in 2014.
BETFRED – £1.3billion
Manchester brothers Peter and Fred Done have made £1.3 billion from Betfred, which has nearly 1,400 betting shops. Betfred boasts that, through its services, you can stream all UK and Irish horse races online and on your phone.
PARTYGAMING – £720million
The online titan was valued at £4.64 billion when it was listed on the London Stock Exchange, turning Ruth Parasol, her ex-husband Russ DeLeon and two friends into multi-millionaires. American Parasol pictured, made her money through online pornography and a sex chat line.
BETVICTOR – £600million
This Gibraltar-based giant was built up by Victor Chandler, who sold his stake to fellow London bookie Michael Tabor in 2014. Mr Tabor, 74, owns a string of racehorses and the 175ft superyacht, Hurricane Run. Once banned by the Jockey Club amid allegations that he paid jockeys for information, he lives in the same luxury Monaco block as Sir Philip Green.
BETFAIR – £455million
Founded by gambler Andrew Black and former City trader Ed Wray, Betfair allows punters to bet against each other.
GAMESYS – £150million
Computer coder Noel Hayden launched the online casino operator in 2001. It now boasts 40 million users.
UNIBET – £112million
Unibet was founded by London-based Swede Anders Strom. Last year, it recorded a turnover of £354 million.