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Britain’s biggest gambling firms have voluntarily agreed to a TV ad blackout running from “whistle-to-whistle” during soccer matches.

The Remote Gambling Association (RGA), an industry lobby group whose members include bookmaker’s William Hill, Paddy Power and Ladbrokes, will agree to stop the ads during live broadcasts, which have become commonplace across English soccer.

No formal announcement from the RGA has been made, but it is looking to confirm the move early next year.

“We made a number of proposals which are being considered by the members of the Industry Group for Responsible Gambling.” Clive Hawkswood, the chief executive of the RGA, told CNBC. “We are of course hopeful that IGRG will agree changes to the Code, but that process has not been completed yet.”

Anti-gambling campaigners and politicians have voiced concerns about the volume of bookmaker’s adverts on TV and how it potentially glamorizes gambling.

U.K. Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Jeremy Wright, said via social media Thursday it was a “welcome move.”

“Gambling firms banning advertising on TV during live sport is a welcome move and I am pleased that the sector is stepping up and responding to public concerns,” he said.

Over half of the soccer teams in England’s top two leagues in England currently have gambling sites as their main shirt sponsor and the increasing influence of these companies has grown relatively unchecked in recent years.

“Investors in U.K. gambling stocks may be worried about another regulatory measure in the shape of a proposed ban on advertising during live sports events, but the effect on earnings should be modest,” said Irish wealth management company Davy Research.

The brokerage says FTSE 100 companies Paddy Power Betfair and GVC Holdings, which owns big betting firms Ladbrokes and Coral, both spend between £40 million ($51 million) and £50 million annually on British TV advertising, some of which may now be redeployed.

Davy said the returns on TV advertising are modest and the change won’t materially affect earnings forecasts. On Thursday, GVC shares closed 5.6 percent lower, Paddy Power Betfair down 2.8 percent and William Hill registered a near seven-year low.

“However, it is a necessary development, in our view, and nudges the sector towards a more sustainable footing.” Davy went on to say.

Bet365, which sponsor the shirt and stadium of Stoke City, has become one of the most prevalent advertisers on British TV, using BAFTA-nominated actor Ray Winstone to promote its in in-play advertising on TV. It’s owned by Peter and Denise Coates and recently logged profits of £660 million in its latest accounts.

Television advertising helped the U.K. gambling industry see £5.35 billion wagered online during 2017, according to the Gambling Commission. That’s compared to the £5.55 billion spent in betting shops, casinos, arcades and bingo halls combined.

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Canada grants bail for arrested Huawei CFO who faces US extradition



Robert Long (L) and Ada Yu hold signs in favor of Huawei Technologies Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou outside her bail hearing at British Columbia Superior Courts in Vancouver, British Columbia on December 11, 2018. 

Jason Redmond | AFP | Getty Images

Robert Long (L) and Ada Yu hold signs in favor of Huawei Technologies Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou outside her bail hearing at British Columbia Superior Courts in Vancouver, British Columbia on December 11, 2018. 

A Vancouver judge set a $10 million CAD bail ($7.5 million U.S.) for Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou Tuesday, capping a week of increasing trade tensions and strong market reactionsaround the dispute between the Department of Justice and one of China’s largest hardware companies.

The United States had asked the Vancouver court to deny bail for Meng, whose father is a billionaire and a founder of Huawei, calling her a flight risk. Canada has been expected to extradite Meng to the United States over charges that the company improperly took payments from Iran in violation of sanctions against the country.

Meng’s next moves will be closely watched, but it is likely with her corporate and family connections that she will be able to make bail. Meng must be accompanied by security detail whenever she leaves her residence.

The $10 million CAD includes $7 million CAD cash and $3 million CAD more from five or more guarantors, presented by Meng and her attorney’s as sureties that she would remain in the country.

The U.S. is alleging Huawei used a small third-party tech provider based in Hong Kong called Skycom to conduct business with Iranian companies despite sanctions against doing so by the E.U. and U.S.

“We have every confidence that the Canadian and U.S. legal systems will reach a just conclusion in the following proceedings,” Huawei said in a statement following the bail hearing. “As we have stressed all along, Huawei complies with all applicable laws and regulations in the countries and regions where we operate, including export control and sanction laws of the UN, U.S. and EU.”

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China’s Tencent Music raises nearly $1.1 billion in U.S. IPO



The logos of QQ Music, Kugou and Kuwo are seen on the screen of an iPhone on June 12, 2018 in Paris, France. QQ Music, Kugou and Kuwo are the three streaming Chinese music services owned by Tencent. 

Chesnot | Getty Images

The logos of QQ Music, Kugou and Kuwo are seen on the screen of an iPhone on June 12, 2018 in Paris, France. QQ Music, Kugou and Kuwo are the three streaming Chinese music services owned by Tencent. 

China-based music streaming company Tencent Music Entertainment Group’s has raised close to $1.1 billion in its U.S. initial public offering (IPO) after pricing its American depositary shares (ADRs) at the low end of its indicated $13 to $15 per share range, a source said on Tuesday.

The IPO shows how companies are defying a bout of stock market volatility with flotations. It tops off a bumper year for U.S. listings by Chinese companies, with $7.9 billion raised prior to Tencent Music’s debut, Refinitiv data showed. That is the highest amount since 2014, the year of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd’s record $25 billion IPO.

Tencent Music’s U.S. IPO is the fourth largest among Chinese firms this year. Video streaming company iQiyi Inc leads with its $2.4 billion listing, followed by online group discounter Pinduoduo Inc at $1.6 billion and electric vehicle maker NIO Inc at $1.15 billion.

With streaming apps QQ Music, KuGou, Kuwo as well as karaoke app We Sing, Tencent Music is China’s largest online music platform boasting more than 800 million monthly active users. The firm is often compared with Spotify Technology SA, but offers more socially interactive services that make it profitable while its Swedish counterpart is not.

Tencent Music sold 41 million ADRs while existing shareholders sold a further 40.9 million, the source said, asking not to be identified ahead of an official announcement. The IPO gives the company a valuation of $21.3 billion.

Tencent Music declined to comment.

Tencent Music initially planned to launch the deal in October, but postponed because of a sell-off in global markets roiled by a U.S.-China trade war and fears of slowing global growth.

The final deal size is also smaller than the $3 billion to $4 billion that IFR, a Refinitiv capital markets publication, reported the firm had initially planned to raise in May. Tencent Music never confirmed fundraising figures.

One person close to the deal told Reuters the smaller figure was due to the company’s valuation falling as a result of market volatility.

Tencent Music reported a 244 percent profit jump for January-September to $394 million. By comparison, Spotify lost a net $520 million.

Bank of America, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley are the lead sponsors of Tencent Music’s deal.

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Trade deal with China could be elusive until bitter end of negotiating period 



The discussions followed a tense week between the two countries after the arrest in Canada of Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Chinese telecom giant Huawei and daughter of the founder. The U.S. sought the arrest on allegations that Wanzhou was circumventing sanctions against Iran, and the U.S. has had a long running concern about Huawei and cyber spying.

“We now have confirmation that there was a good faith effort to come to an agreement on trade and both are now making a concerted effort to show that trade talks are operating on a parallel track to the arrest of the Chinese business executive. The Chinese may do stuff that’s going to make the U.S. uncomfortable outside of trade,” said Clifton.

Clifton added the challenge would be whether both sides “stick to those parallels” and allow trade to progress. He pointed to the Chinese arrest of a former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig after China warned Canada about the arrest of Meng.

“The trade talks are extraordinarily complex,” said Clifton. “While we talk about tariffs, subsidies, soy beans, those are the headlines, but there is a significant discussion happening at the agency level with the Chinese on cyber security, artificial intelligence, intellectual property. Those are going to be tougher nuts to crack but those conversations are in place.”

The Washington Post reported Tuesday that the U.S. was going to call out China for cyber-espionage and hacking in a sweeping series of actions.

“It is a positive the sides are talking, but this is far from the initial plan to send Liu He with a team of 30 Chinese negotiators to DC this week. The next two weeks seem unlikely for DC talks given the Central Economic Work Conference next week and the big Reform and Opening meeting. Given these high profile upcoming Chinese domestic events, a lack of trade reform announcements would likely increase the likelihood for March 1 tariffs,” notes
Chris Krueger, policy strategist at Cowen.

Krueger said the auto tariff reductions and agriculture purchases by China are positives but not having face-to-face meetings in December was a negative,” Krueger said in a note. “Without ironclad agreement on a real path forward on this crucial front (*the* issue in the 301 Report), we take Ambassador Lighthizer at his word that March 1 is a hard deadline for more tariffs,” Krueger said in a note.

Harris said he expects the talks to succeed ultimately and the U.S. should avoid the next round of tariffs, though if they do go into affect it would be for a very limited time.

“Our baseline forecast is by March 1, they have converged enough towards a deal that the markets start to feel better about what’s happening. It may take a little longer to get a deal, but at least you’ll be moving in the right direction. I think the progress on this is going to be very slow,” said Harris. Harris said the next round of tariffs, where the U.S. could target all Chinese imports would slow China’s growth to about 6 percent. Currently, he expects Chinese growth to pick up in the second half of next year.

Many U.S. economists have factored a full blown trade war into their outlook for next year, and if there is no resolution to the trade issues, growth is expected to slow to below 2 percent in the second half.

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