iGB Diary: Willie won't be on the fence, Up the Power Paddy, Down with sexism! and What fun... gambling is

23 May 2014

Willie… or Won’t He
So, 80 year-old former San Francisco mayor and so-called “igaming champion” Willie Brown suddenly woke up last week and decided to join casino mogul Sheldon Adelson’s Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling. His reasons? Perfectly logical since you ask, well not quite. He now suggests that he was on the “wrong side of the issue” in the past and, get this, that the use of “cartoonish figures” in the gambling industry were the final straw. And we thought our excuse for coming back to the office after lunch last week was far-fetched. [You mean you weren’t arrested in a case of mistaken identity? – Ed] But don't worry Willie, we're like you, we don’t go online because the internet is full of weirdoes, or perhaps we won’t go grocery shopping this week because supermarkets begin with the letter ‘s’ and so does ‘snake’? Does age have anything to do with Brown's idiosyncratic behaviour? Not really, more like big wads of Adelson-labelled funding landing in his pockets was enough to change his mind. But speaking of cartoons, where were we in that latest series of the Dark Knight slots…

Up the Power Paddy
We’ve always been big fans of Paddy Power and their social media ramblings and PR stunts but were surprised at their cuddly/friendly coverage of Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs’s retirement from professional football. The Hirsute One (good nickname - Ed) will be number 2 to new Man U manager Louis Van Gaal next season but had to stop playing to focus on coaching, an offer he accepted. But where were the Paddy jokes about neighbourly advice to friends and family, good away form, sheep s******g, being your brother’s keeper and so on? Nope, just Giggs’s squad pics down the years with a line about the Welshman having had a decent career. Why the reverential tone? Does it have something to do with Man U’s strong Irish following as some on Facebook suggested? Anyway, compared to the treatment West Ham manager boss Sam Allardyce got or that regularly handed out to John Terry (or Samir Nasri, let’s spread the love), we were left with a sense of wanting more.

Meanwhile Allardyce and Terry get the Paddy Power treatment...  

Betting… what is it again?
The Diary does its bit for gender equality this week: wasn’t it heart-warming to see Premier League boss Richard Scudamore keep his job following the furore surrounding a barrage of crude sexist emails he sent to a work contact? His PA (no gender stereotypes there) leaked the story, since she had daily access to his email to organise his meetings and timetable. Never mind the NSA or mail encryption eh Richard... yet, according to all the other EPL bods who effectively employ him, he’s “one of the best negotiators in business”. And that makes ALL the difference see? (Well, £5.5bn until 2016 of TV money’s worth of difference actually). But even better was reading the explainer to betting on the newly-launched ‘female-friendly’ Flutter tab on Galabingo.com. We support the initiative, lord knows gambling could do with more women, but had to marvel at how the company explained to ‘the ladies’ how sport, and in particular, football betting works. It sounded like something written by one of Scudamore’s protégés. Diary’s favourite line: “Let's just say that it's football, Liverpool is playing Manchester United tonight and you want Liverpool ‘To Win'. The bet is a single ‘To Win' bet meaning that Liverpool must win for you to win. There's no alternative outcome except win or lose.” Oh so that’s what betting is…

What fun… gambling is
Nice to see another operator showing a good sense of judgement. Just weeks after a code of conduct was introduced which includes measures such as FOBT pop-ups advising players about time and money spent one high street bookie, as part of its latest campaign, published a poster suggesting that “Gambling should be fun. Not a problem.” What most people have ignored however is the fact that the campaign is the first ever TV ad that is dedicated to a responsible gambling message. We’re backing the operator on this one.