Paddy Power/Wil­liam Hill: poor bets

The Week Middle East - - Business -

Talk about jump­ing the gun. Three weeks be­fore Amer­ica went to the polls, the Ir­ish bookie Paddy Power made early pay­ments to­talling around £800,000 to pun­ters who had backed Hil­lary Clin­ton – hav­ing gam­bled on Trump’s elec­tion cam­paign be­ing “all but fin­ished”, said Har­riet Alexan­der in The Daily Tele­graph. Red faces now abound. “Boy, did we get it wrong,” ad­mit­ted a spokesman last week re­flect­ing on the painful re­sult, which means the bookie must now pay £4m to clients who’d backed Trump. Over at be­lea­guered ri­val Wil­liam Hill, how­ever, things are look­ing up, said Do­minic Walsh in The Times. The bet­ting group – “which is still look­ing for a per­ma­nent chief ex­ec­u­tive” and re­cently had a merger deal with a Cana­dian ri­val scup­pered by its own share­hold­ers – has ap­pointed “a trio of heavy­weight non-ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tors”, in­clud­ing for­mer big cheeses from Co­ral and Bet­fair. Bully for Wil­liam Hill, said Nils Prat­ley in The Guardian. Hav­ing been “cru­elly ex­posed” for hav­ing a board­room crammed with “non-spe­cial­ists”, it has fi­nally landed some with ac­tual ex­pe­ri­ence of the gam­bling in­dus­try. About time.

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