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appointments corporate

The biggest surprise of the month was the stepping down of Lee Richardson from his position of CEO at Irish bookmaker Boylesports. Richardson only joined the firm in March from software supplier Chartwell Games, but has now resigned citing ‘family reasons’ and is to return to the UK. The bookmaker is unlikely to replace Richard- son in the short term, with chairman and founder John Boyle taking on the role for the ‘foreseeable future’. It has also been revealed that Boylesports’ head of online Conor Grant has also left the company to join Sky Bet.

There is also a shakeup at supplier CryptoLogic with chief executive officer Brian Hadfield deciding to leave the company and resign as a director. He made this deci- sion after helping the board with further restructure plans to reduce significantly the cost base, including a reduction in the total workforce by the end of the year. Chairman David Gavagan has assumed the role of CEO on an interim basis while Huw Spiers has joined as chief financial officer.

Elsewhere in Ireland, bookmaker Paddy Power has announced that Breon Corcoran, formerly managing director non-retail & development, has been appointed chief operating officer with immediate effect. In addition to maintaining responsibility for its online businesses, its Australian operations and development opportunities in certain key geographies, Corcoran is also assuming responsibility for both the technology function and group human resources function.

the online divide

Innovation is integrated at a slow pace as human contact is seen as being essential to the land based business, whereas online is all about innovation and technology. Land based casinos tend to have local monopolies and have a cus- tomer base that lives in the area that is easily accessed by car. By definition, an online offer is accessible by anyone, any- where, which causes all sorts of differences, in marketing for example and also in getting yourself known to the public. In any town people will talk about the casino, neither knowing nor caring to whom it belongs, online is all about brand awareness and reputa- tion. Online gaming is about IT, whereas land based gaming is about property, we started out thinking that the two were just different distribution channels for the same product, we were totally mistaken in this approach and we required new skills to meet the challenges we discovered on the way. As for common ground, the games are essentially the same but it

is risk mitigation that is proba- bly the greatest overlap. In the future both will learn from the other, but I believe that land based gaming will have the most to learn and gain from the other and, of course, one day we will have a hybrid casino offer that is available both on-line and offline.

How has the French gam- bling market adapted to the deregulation of the online industry? We are still in the early stages as the market has only been open since June and only for sports betting and poker. For the moment, online casino games such as Blackjack, Roulette or slot machines are still illegal, though we hope for a further opening in about two years at which time the government will have had time to fully understand the activity and have confidence in its ability to regulate it. Getting back to the question though, land based casinos have been losing customers to online operators for 4 or 5

years due to many different reasons but probably mainly due to the smoking bans in public places such as casinos. The industry was very active in lobbying for the opening of online gaming and now faces the question of how it is going to use it now that it has arrived. Most casino chains have requested licences for poker and many have already obtained those licences. One of the main ways to capitalise is through the organisation of poker tournaments online with the finals or later stages being held inside casinos, there is a tremendous poten- tial there I believe. Most casinos in France are strug- gling at the moment, there have been several closures and many more are threat- ened, the government has lowered taxes a little, this helps but will not be enough to stop the closure of at least 10 more casinos this year.

If you could change one thing about the French laws what would it be?

There are a lot of things that are not quite perfect in the laws, we could look at the player sign up process, which is long winded and will cause many potential customers to abandon without finishing off. Some of the player protection measures don’t go far enough such as responsible gaming measures, while other go too far, without being useful, the need to type in your date of birth at every log-in is a good example. Taxes are set at a level which will make profitability a challenge for most operators and the maximum payout per- centage for sports betting will not lead to better competition and an attractive offering to the customers. That said, the law has got most things just about right, we can live with all the obligations that are imposed, the one thing that I would change? An easy question, I would allow casino games, it is our main business, it’s what we know best, with casino games operators could offer a full range of products and hope- fully illegal operators would disappear.

At Timeweave, the company that was Alphameric before Orbis (now OpenBet) bought its LBO supply business, Peter Bertram has taken a more hands on role and become executive chairman. The firm, which owns half of LBO TV channel Turf TV, appears to be taking a very proactive approach as Bertram has been tasked with ‘exploring strategic options and opportunities, with a view to initiating the recruitment of a chief executive’.

Scientific Games Corporation-owned gaming machines provider The Global Draw has strengthened its interna- tional development team with the announcement of two senior appointments. They include Aristocrat’s former chief technology officer, Gareth Phillips, who assumes the post of MD of international business and Mark Williamson, promoted from field operations director to the newly created post of operations director, interna- tional markets.

Site Intelligence, the multi-channel analytics provider, has bolstered its team for servicing the betting, gaming and lotteries sectors with the appointment of Oxford post-graduate Paul Gal- braith as manager of gaming intelligence.

Steve Clutton retired from the IG Group Hold- ings board early last month after nearly four years as finance director. Matthew Tooth is acting as interim FD while a search continues for a replacement.

CryptoLogic chief executive Brian Hadfield has resigned

BettingBusinessInteractive • SEPTEMBER 2010 41

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