Ladbrokes Owner's Turkish Dealings Could Block US Entry

Written by:
Gilbert Horowitz
Published on:

William Hill and Paddy Power continue to carve their way through the US regulated sports betting landscape.  Rival Ladbrokes would love to, but those hopes may now be dashed.

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Ladbrokes parent company it turns out had been engaging in gambling in Turkey, a country that has banned gambling.  GVC disposed of its Turkish operation ahead of the Ladbrokes purchase in order to avoid regulatory obstacles.

From CasinoNewsDaily.com:

GVC, which started as a seven-person Isle of Man-based business to become one of the world’s gambling powerhouses, disposed of its Turkish operation to complete the Ladbrokes Coral purchase, but the Sunday Times says in a recent report that its boss, Kenny Alexander, might have not entirely cut ties with his company’s Turkish past.

Alexander is said to own a horse farm with an individual who received a chunk of GVC's Turkish business.  That man is one Ron Watts, for whom Alexander has long industry ties to through their employment at Sportingbet over a decade ago.

GVC acquired Sportingbet's Turkish operation in 2011 and it quickly accounted for nearly a third of the company's total revenue.

GVC utilized the services of a payment solutions company known to mask payments for gambling in Turkey.

CasinoNewsDaily adds:

GVC’s previous Turkish dealings could have cost it its entry into the Nevada market. During the hearing before regulators, Mr. Alexander said that he was “ultimately responsible” for their targeting customers from a black market. GVC was given the green light to operate in Nevada. However, state regulators put the company on two-years’ probation.

It is understood that the operator’s boss will now have to answer before US gambling regulators for his link to the current owners of GVC’s Turkish business. And this could seriously threaten the company’s bid to enter a betting space with huge growth potential.

- Gilbert Horowitz, Gambling911.com

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