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Betting shops facing bleak future as numbers keep dropping

first_imgShare The latest statistics from the UK Gambling Commission released at the end of last year contained with them some figures for betting shop closures that might yet be a sign of things to come for UK bookmakers.The total number of shops as of the end of September 2017 stood at 8,502, down 304 from March this year and 412 outlets down from the same time last year.   Half of the total is accounted for by Ladbrokes Coral which, according to the Commission statistics has shed 255 shops since March. The company said in its mid-November trading statement that 96 outlets had been shuttered in the past three-month period. There would appear to be some minor overlap with Betfred over the period. Ladbrokes Coral sold a parcel of 359 shops as part of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) mandated offloading in October last year. In the six months to September this year, Betfred added 34 shops to end the period with 1,671 outlets.Still, the industry-wide 4.6 percent fall comes ahead of any predicted negative effect from whatever stakes limit for FOBTs is finally decided upon under the auspices of the triennial review and would seem to point to further falls in the years ahead.As Paul Leyland, partner at gambling consultancy Regulus, pointed out, this is a “material shift” ahead of the review and fears remain that an even bigger shop closure figure could be in the offing should the worst happen with stake sizes.All this is against a general backdrop of changes in retail behaviour in the UK which suggest the move to online shopping is becoming ever more pronounced. In early December, for instance, Thomas Cook said it was closing 50 stores in the UK due to the increasing shift to online, a phenomenon that UK betting is only too aware of.Yet, there are reasons to believe that it is too early to pronounce on the death of the betting shop in the UK. Partly, this is down to culture. As one commentator in the FT said recently about those that are still loyal to cash, it is the favoured means of transaction among the very rich, the very poor, the criminal and the merely old-fashioned. Betting shop habitués are highly represented among at least three of those.As much as we know that the major shop estates of Ladbrokes Coral, William Hill and Betfred have long tails, it is hard to quantify just how many of these would be tipped into loss-making territory by any change in the stakes and prizes regime.It is telling, for instance, that the ‘contingent value right’ at the heart of the recent GVC takeover of Ladbrokes Coral presents a wide disparity of outcomes depending on what level of stake is finally handed down.In truth, no one yet knows what the impact of a lower stake limit will have on either individual estates or on the UK picture as a whole. Despite the warnings from the industry of job losses in the thousands and shop closures blighting every high street, it is likely that for a period a phony war will take place that will see the larger operators holding out in multiple locations to see who blinks first.This is one effect of the recent clustering seen in many high streets; the assumption on the part of the bookmakers is that the custom from the first shop to close will disperse to rival shops in the locality. No one wants to be that first shop and everyone wants to be the last man standing. It is a Mexican stand-off that could last a long while.But there is one sub-sector which might not be quiet so able to stand its ground while the shakeout takes place. The independent sector has long been complaining that both industry trends and the regulatory backdrop is putting their collective presence on the high street under threat and the evidence of the Commission statistics would appear to back that up.Since March 2015 the total of other shops in the Commission data has fallen by 195 or 15 percent to 1,089 as of the end of September. Taking Paddy Power Betfair’s 357 shops out of that equation, the percentage fall is a very steep 20 percent.As one analyst put it, the independents are “much less able to withstand” negative shocks and without the online backup, will be particularly vulnerable to further pain caused by the triennial review.With costs rising and major competitors willing to hold out even in unprofitable locales in the hope of reaping any omni-channel benefit to be wrung from the high street, the independent sector is facing a potentially existential squeeze. Time – and luck – might be running out and the some of the political decisions due to be made early this year will play a huge part of the future.________________The future of the Retail Betting industry will be discussed and debated at the upcoming ‘Betting on Football 2018 Conference’ (#bofcon2018 – 20-23 March – London – Stamford Bridge). Click on the below banner for more information… Submit Share StumbleUpon Related Articles SBC Magazine Issue 10: Kaizen Gaming rebrand and focus for William Hill CEO August 25, 2020 Betfred extends World Snooker Championship deal until 2022 August 17, 2020 Betfred counters Oppenheimer bid in race to rescue Phumelela August 26, 2020last_img read more

Pelicans star Zion Williamson leaves NBA bubble for ‘urgent family matter’

first_imgThe number one overall pick of the 2019 draft missed New Orleans’ first 44 games while recovering from arthroscopic surgery on his right knee, but has made a significant impact upon returning from the injury. The Pelicans were 17-27 and in 12th place in the Western Conference when Williamson made his delayed debut on January 22 and the team has gone 10-9 with the former Duke standout in the line-up.New Orleans enter the restart in 10th place in the West, three and a half games behind eighth-place Memphis. ‘We fully support Zion’s decision to leave the NBA campus to be with his family,” the Pelicans’ vice president of basketball operations David Griffin said. “Out of respect for the Williamson family, we will have no further comment at this time.”Zion Williamson update: pic.twitter.com/eShAPl1gB2— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) July 16, 2020Whether Williamson will miss any games remains to be determined. Per NBA protocols, he will be required to quarantine between two to four days once he returns to Orlando provided he is tested daily for coronavirus during his time away. Failure to undergo daily testing would require a quarantine period of at least seven days. New Orleans are scheduled to return to play July 30 against the Utah Jazz. Zion Williamson has left the NBA bubble at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida to attend to an urgent family matter, the Pelicans announced Thursday.The Pelicans said in a statement that star rookie Williamson, the Pelicans’ second-leading scorer at 23.6 points per game, plans to rejoin the team for the restart of the NBA season at a later date but did not offer any specifics. last_img read more

Donaldson pursues hoop dreams despite tough road

first_imgHARD WORKER—Jakim Donaldson is seen at West Park on the North Side before a workout. by Malik VincentPittsburgh has had its fair share of basketball “greats.” They’ve ventured through the city’s landscape from court to court and have proven that they have what it takes to make it to the game’s highest levels. Jakim Donaldson, 26, is a 2001 graduate of Oliver High School currently playing for Ciudad de La Laguna Canarias, of the LEB-Gold league in the Spain organization.He is a 6-8”, 220 lb. forward who acknowledges that he wasn’t the most “highly-touted” among players at his position in the Pittsburgh City League at the time of his high school graduation.“I had to work hard and listen to the people around me,” Donaldson said. “There were plenty of good players whenever I came out and I won’t lie, I wasn’t even ranked among the best, but I was determined to get there and I ran into some good opportunities along the way.”The fall after he graduated, he attended Edinboro University where he played four seasons for the Fighting Scots. He went as a walk-on, and earned a full athletic scholarship in his sophomore season.“He was a tremendous player on numerous levels for us and other places,” said Edinboro head basketball coach Greg Walcavich. “He had the absolute best attitude for playing; great rebounder, could score in (many) ways, a tireless defender and he was the perfect teammate.”He capitalized on those aforementioned opportunities by concluding his career as the only player in Edinboro history to score more than 1,000 points and pull down more than 1,000 rebounds. He finished with 1,355 career points and 1,100 career rebounds, the top figure in school history.Donaldson received many accolades while attending Edinboro including being named the PSAC West Player of the Year as a senior. He then went on to earn first team NABC All-American honors, along with first team Basketball Times All-American and first team Daktronics All-American acknowledgement, plus second team Division II Bulletin All-American respects. He averaged a double-double in three of his four seasons, with 14.3 ppg. and 10.8 rpg. as a sophomore.All of his accomplishments on the collegiate level gave him an opportunity to extend his career in Portugal in the LPB league for the Barreirense/Unilogos basketball team. He stayed there for his rookie year in the 2005-06 season and then moved on to Spain where he’s been for the past four campaigns.While a part of the Ciudad de La Laguna Canarias team in 2010, he gathered some honors there as well, including both the LEB-Gold League Defensive and Import (non-Spanish) Player of Year. His 10.9 rebounds and 17.7 points were each good for the first and second-best marks in the league.“When it didn’t seem so bright at first, I looked at things differently and it gave me a brighter perspective,” Donaldson said.Most recently, Donaldson competed in the NBA Summer League with the New Jersey Nets and in his final game he scored 15 points and seven rebounds in 30 minutes of play.“I was really excited to go out there and play with the Nets,” Donaldson said. “It felt good to get out there with those guys and experience the energy of the league.”Donaldson hopes to make the Nets’ roster this season, if not, he hopes to go back to Spain and compete in the ACD League, the highest level in that nation’s organization.(Malik Vincent can be reached at [email protected])last_img read more