Betting firm investors cash in chips
BRITAIN’s top gambling groups saw their share prices fall on fears of a looming sector crackdown.
On Sunday, the Commons public accounts committee published a report that accused the Government and regulators of failing to shield the public from the risks of online betting.
The report said the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport had not done enough to prevent harms, and branded the Gambling Commission “a torpid, toothless regulator”.
The report gave the department and the Gaming Commission three months to respond with a plan of action to improve its regulatory treatment of the section.
Investors backed away from Ladbrokes Coral-owner GVC Holdings and PaddyPower-owner Flutter Entertainment, which headed the FTSE 100 fallers with falls of more than 2pc, down 20.8p to 742.8p and 225p to £108.20 respectively. Mid-cap bookie William Hill took the biggest hit, however, dropping more than 3pc, or 4p to 118.9p.
Goodbody’s Gavin Kelleher said the report, which stopped short of specific recommendations, was limited in some elements, but said: “The chances of some from of negative intervention (or at least the perception that it is coming) definitely increases with the release of such Government and industry reports.”
“We continue to outline that well diversified operators with a recreational database are best placed to navigate through such regulatory environments,“he added.
GVC was left as the FTSE 100’s biggest faller on a day of decent gains for the blue-chip index, which is slowly clawing back last Wednesday’s heavy losses.
The index was given some lift by solid performances from banks – with Standard Chartered and Barclays both rising – and a 3pc jump by energy giant BP, up 10.3p to 314.9p, on news of the $5bn sale of its petrochemicals division to Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s Ineos.
Stocks struggled to find their feet at the start of session, but picked up as the day went on, building momentum into the close.
Housebuilders flipped during the day – rising initially in anticipation of an infrastructure programme launch to be unveiled today, before stumbling later. Barratt Developments dropped 4.4p to 497.2p. Elsewhere, Boris Johnson’s ambitions to build hospitals, schools and roads – teased over the weekend – sent shares in Kier Group up 7.5p to 97.5p.
Elsewhere, electric power generation company Drax rose 32p to 255.2p on weekend speculation it could become a takeover target. The
Mail on Sunday said an unknown energy company was looking at the group, and could be in early talks. However, no announcement was forthcoming yesterday.