OCUK News Centre

William Hill Extends Responsible Gambling Initiative to US States

William Hill has extended its responsible gambling initiative beyond the UK by making a £38,000/$50,000 donation to the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey (CCGNJ).

Off the back of its 2018 Nobody Harmed by Gambling campaign, William Hill UK has passed the baton to its US counterpart. Confirmed by CEO of William Hill US Joe Asher, the donation is the start of an ongoing relationship with the Garden State’s responsible gambling agency.

“We are proud to partner with the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey on bringing attention to this extremely important issue,” Asher said on March 20.

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Casino revenue at 888 Holdings improved by 8 percent last year, helping the online gaming operator achieve record underlying profits.

Publishing its 2018 financial report on March 12, 888’s balance sheet showed a 11 percent increase in adjusted profit before tax. However, while the jump from $78.3 million to $86.7 million was impressive, it was unadjusted profits that really shone.

As per the filing, overall profit before any cost adjustments was up from $18.8 million in 2017 to $108.7 million.

Profits Soar Despite Regulatory Backdraft

Although overall group revenue was down by 2 percent, the underlying earnings are a testament … Read more

Stars Group to Dominate UK Online Gaming Amid Market Disruption

Disruption in the UK online gaming market is perfect for PokerStars according to CEO of the Stars Group, Rafi Ashkenazi.

Discussing the gaming company’s plans for 2019, Ashkenazi said last year’s acquisition of Sky Betting and Gaming (SBG) has given it dominant share of the UK market.

“What we’re seeing is, essentially, the foundation that was laid by the SBG team. We are the largest in terms of market share and leveraging on this customer base is something that allows us to grow faster in the market,” the CEO told investors on March 6.

Profitable 2018 Prompts UK Online Gaming

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Ladbrokes Coral owner GVC has called 2018 a “transformational” year after its online assets helped cancel out losses in the UK retail sector.

Commenting on its recent annual report, GVC boss Kenneth Alexander noted that online growth was “very strong” but costs saw the gaming operator lose £18.9 million before tax.

As per the report, net gaming and total sales both increased by nine percent. But despite revenue in both areas topping £3.57 billion and £3.52 billion, acquisition costs and back-tax added £434.2 million in charges to the balance sheet.

Ups and Downs as GVC Evolves

Discounting the unexpected charges, … Read more

GVC Boss Optimistic as New Playtech Deal Improves Flexibility

GVC and Playtech have agreed a multiyear partnership that will see UK gaming brands Ladbrokes Coral, Partypoker and Bwin receive a raft of software upgrades.

Extending an existing six-year-old deal, the two companies will now enhance their relationship through a series of new initiatives.

Set to run until 2025, the new arrangement will see Playtech provide “key” products and services across the GVC network. Significantly, that means Playtech will gain a greater footing in new markets.

Playtech Profiting from GVC Expansion

With retail revenue in the UK falling due to recent regulatory changes, GVC has found solace in its online … Read more

Gaming Trends Shift as Mobile Casino Usage Increases

Mobile casino gaming has reached record levels, prompting anti-gambling advocates to brand them as potentially destructive as fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs).

According to a recent report published by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), more than 1.6 million Britons bet via their mobiles. Supporting the latest statistics, the regulator’s Gambling Participation in 2018 summary shows that 55 percent of gamers have gambled on their smartphone or tablet.

More Mobile Casino Gamers than Ever

Expanding on the findings, the research shows that 44 percent of gamers regularly use mobile casino apps. As well as being double what it was four years … Read more

RGA and ABB to Form Lobbying Superpower to Help UK Gaming Operators

UK gaming operators may soon have a powerful new ally if a proposed merger between the Remote Gambling Association (RGA) and the Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) takes place.

Although no official announcements have been made, job adverts suggest the two groups are preparing to become one. If that happens, the entity’s main aim would be to represent UK gaming operators in a more effective way.

Changes Needed for All in UK Gaming

Speaking to The Guardian newspaper, an unnamed industry figure said “it’s time to get lined up a bit better,” in order to address major regulatory issues..

This … Read more

Profitable 2018 for Playtech Despite UK Pressures

Playtech expects underlying profits to increase by 21 percent this year thanks to a strong set of results in 2018.

Publishing its annual report on February 21, the software supplier announced that revenue improved by 54 percent in the 12 months to December 31. When the figures were adjusted for underlying earnings (EBITDA), Playtech’s fortunes were up by 7 percent to €343 million/£297 million.

Acquisition Keeps Playtech Profitable

Basing this year’s projections on 2018’s performance, Playtech bosses believe earnings can top £300 million. Helping to fuel the company’s optimism is a series of new casino and betting partners in the … Read more

RGSB Wants More Focus on Responsible Gambling

The Responsible Gambling Strategy Board (RGSB) has published a 20-page document on changes it believes will help reduce problem gambling in the UK.

Spun out of the UK Gambling Commission’s (UKGC) need to have an advisory board, the RGSB now offers advice on all sectors of the industry. As well as liaising with the UKGC, the organisation also works alongside the government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS).

Responsible Gambling Strategy Board Maintaining Momentum

Building on Prime Minister Theresa May’s pledge to fund problem gambling clinics as part of her £20.5 billion NHS plan, the RGSB has outlined … Read more

New Guidelines Force UK Gaming Brands to Avoid Child-Like Adverts

UK gaming companies will no longer be able to use young celebrities or animations that might appeal to children thanks to new advertising guidelines.

Coming into force on April 1, the new rules follow a review of gaming and the effects it can have on children. Highlighting the results and subsequent guidelines, the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) said new restrictions will help protect minors.

For Adult Eyes Only

Over the last three years, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has taken action against operators using potentially child-like material. In 2015, Ladbrokes pulled an email campaign that featured former Manchester United Read more