iGB Diary: Wise owls, Don't pick on Adelson, Gala Bingo all a-flutter, Birch pulls Rank

16 May 2014

Irritable owl syndrome (who writes your headlines?!, Ed)
iGaming Business’s story on bwin party activist investor SpringOwl’s moves to nominate four board members at bwin party and its founder Jason Ader’s board member position at Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands corporation certainly caught industry observers’ attentions. Ok ok... a few of you then. Anyway, it won’t surprise you to hear that SpringOwl’s spokespeople (and the company itself one imagines) didn’t appreciate the story, as they contacted iGB with their own lines of what aboutery concerning bwin party execs. But regardless of who did what when (we've never held back in our criticisms of bwin party by the way), one wonders what SpringOwl expected once it launched its bid to replace nearly half the operator’s board. After all, in, ahem... finest journalistic tradition (no sniggering at the back), iGB merely did its research and asked follow up questions. In fact, many of our contacts were a lot more cynical than us as to SpringOwl’s motivations when we questioned them about the topic. Spookily, bwin party has just announced that it was looking to replace three board members... Anyhow, don't shoot the messenger is all we're saying!

“Don’t pick on Adelson”
Speaking of Adelson, Nevada Senator Harry Reid and US politics and gaming, the brilliant Jon Stewart produced this classic on The Daily Show yesterday (thanks to Sue Schneider for bringing it to our attention).


Flap your hands
GalaBingo.com this week announced what could be an interesting take on betting by launching a new tab on its site aimed at breaking down the barriers to the “macho and often impenetrable world of sports betting”. Appealing to potential female punters is a great idea (not enough operators do it) and we wish them well, although we are surprised at the name they have chosen for their new product: Flutter. Not only have they gone with a yellow bird that brings to mind the logo used by the world’s largest 140 character social media site, they’ve also called it ‘Flutter’. If anyone was around in May 2000 you’ll remember Flutter.com, which merged with Andrew Black and Ed Wray's Betfair shortly afterwards (or maybe we've been around too long). Nonetheless it’s great to show innovation and should be encouraged so here's hoping Gala's female betting appeal is successful.

Don’t do a Burke Henry
One of Gala’s main rivals is Rank, its bingo brand Mecca has proved resilient over the years. However, fortunes have slipped for the group recently and a change in management has been on the cards for a while. It happened a few weeks ago with the hire of former William Hill Online boss Henry Birch, one of the nicest blokes in the industry it has to be said. Only eight days in though and Birch had to deliver more negative news to the City and journos admitting that revenues at Mecca had fallen a further 8% in the last four and a half months of this year due to a “highly competitive digital bingo market”. Take a look at his CV and he’s proven that he can come in and turn things around, but let’s hope he sticks with it and doesn’t do what his predecessor Ian Burke did in June 2011 and resign, only to find himself reinstated seven days later.