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Britain’s biggest gambling firms have voluntarily agreed to a TV ad blackout running from “whistle-to-whistle” during soccer matches.

The Remote Gambling Association (RGA), an industry lobby group whose members include bookmaker’s William Hill, Paddy Power and Ladbrokes, will agree to stop the ads during live broadcasts, which have become commonplace across English soccer.

No formal announcement from the RGA has been made, but it is looking to confirm the move early next year.

“We made a number of proposals which are being considered by the members of the Industry Group for Responsible Gambling.” Clive Hawkswood, the chief executive of the RGA, told CNBC. “We are of course hopeful that IGRG will agree changes to the Code, but that process has not been completed yet.”

Anti-gambling campaigners and politicians have voiced concerns about the volume of bookmaker’s adverts on TV and how it potentially glamorizes gambling.

U.K. Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Jeremy Wright, said via social media Thursday it was a “welcome move.”

“Gambling firms banning advertising on TV during live sport is a welcome move and I am pleased that the sector is stepping up and responding to public concerns,” he said.

Over half of the soccer teams in England’s top two leagues in England currently have gambling sites as their main shirt sponsor and the increasing influence of these companies has grown relatively unchecked in recent years.

“Investors in U.K. gambling stocks may be worried about another regulatory measure in the shape of a proposed ban on advertising during live sports events, but the effect on earnings should be modest,” said Irish wealth management company Davy Research.

The brokerage says FTSE 100 companies Paddy Power Betfair and GVC Holdings, which owns big betting firms Ladbrokes and Coral, both spend between £40 million ($51 million) and £50 million annually on British TV advertising, some of which may now be redeployed.

Davy said the returns on TV advertising are modest and the change won’t materially affect earnings forecasts. On Thursday, GVC shares closed 5.6 percent lower, Paddy Power Betfair down 2.8 percent and William Hill registered a near seven-year low.

“However, it is a necessary development, in our view, and nudges the sector towards a more sustainable footing.” Davy went on to say.

Bet365, which sponsor the shirt and stadium of Stoke City, has become one of the most prevalent advertisers on British TV, using BAFTA-nominated actor Ray Winstone to promote its in in-play advertising on TV. It’s owned by Peter and Denise Coates and recently logged profits of £660 million in its latest accounts.

Television advertising helped the U.K. gambling industry see £5.35 billion wagered online during 2017, according to the Gambling Commission. That’s compared to the £5.55 billion spent in betting shops, casinos, arcades and bingo halls combined.

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Trump announces John Kelly to depart White House by year’s end



John Kelly is expected to depart his role as White House Chief of Staff by the end of the year, President Donald Trump said on Saturday, ending a tenure marked by tensions with his boss and confrontations with other key administration figures.

The president announced the news on the front lawn on the White House, following days of swirling speculation around the retired Marine Corps general’s exit for months amid disagreements with Trump. Nevertheless, in his brief remarks to reporters, Trump called Kelly “a great guy” and that he appreciated his service.

“We’ll be announcing who will be taking John’s place” over the next day or two, Trump said, en route to the annual Army-Navy football game. Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, Nick Ayers, is reportedly among the candidates who could succeed Kelly.

Kelly has increasingly clashed with both national security officials and first lady Melania Trump, NBC reported last month. Trump has reportedly shown frustration with Kelly during the chief of staff’s tenure.

Kelly’s departure follows several months of controversy and turmoil. He reportedly told staff that he would stay in the job until at least 2020.

It also comes at a time when Trump faces increasing pressure over high-stakes trade talks with China, an economy showing signs of shakiness for the first time in his administration, and the special counsel’s investigation into potential ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

The president will also have to contend with a divided Congress, as Democrats are slated to take over the House in January. Kelly isn’t known as a political operator.

Kelly succeeded Reince Priebus, the former head of the Republican Party. The president’s chaotic management style made the job particularly difficult for both men. Kelly’s disciplined management.

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China’s real endgame in the trade war runs through Europe



Some call it political warfare, using a nonmilitary toolbox of overt and covert means to exert its influence on political and economic elites, academia and public opinion. With these efforts, it weakens Western unity (and US attraction) and improves its image as an alternative to liberal democracy, the report concluded.

Growing Sino-US tensions have brought Europe new export chances in China but at the same time China has shifted considerable export and foreign investment efforts to Europe to replace lost American markets. In the first six months of this year, newly announced Chinese mergers and acquisitions into Europe were nine-fold the North America number at $20 billion compared to $2.5 billion and completed investments were six times higher at $12 billion compare to $2 billion.

At the same time, a new Trump-Xi trade deal could shake Europe as well, as China’s state driven economy could decide overnight to replace European products with US goods for political purposes.

The potential for an escalated Beijing-US struggle has left European experts scratching their heads over how they would choose sides or navigate the perils, particularly in the case where some countries and industries have much more at stake in China.

Some European officials speak of the need for “strategic autonomy” in the face of US sanctions extraterritorial reach on Iran and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s speech in Brussels this week where he questioned multilateralism and the European Union. At the same time, they worry more about what some call China’s “political warfare” of gathering economic, financial and thus also diplomatic influence.

The European Union hasn’t yet applied anything as restrictive on foreign investment as the US Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), an interagency committee that reviews the impact of foreign investments on US national security. However, the EU this month passed a bill creating an unprecedented, if non-binding, screening scheme aimed at predatory Chinese investments.

Germans this week increased their focus on questions regarding a company called KUKA Robotics, which has become the poster child for the perils of high tech sales to the Chinese. With its industrial robotics production, KUKA was one of the nation’s greatest innovators for the 21st century economy until it was taken over by the Chinese company Midea in 2016.

Just last month, Midea was reversing previous assurances that it would not remove KUKA’s highly respected and long-time CEO, underscoring China’s ultimate control over cutting-edge robotics technology.

Despite facing new scrutiny, China is undeterred in its European strategy, taking advantage of European divisions, America’s trade strains with Europe and the urgent investment needs of particularly Southern and Eastern European countries.

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These are the hottest travel destinations for 2019



A new year means new opportunities to tick off the destinations on your bucket list. So, where are people headed?

American Express recently revealed the top trending travel destinations for 2019, based on its year-over-year (2017 versus 2018), proprietary American Express Travel 2018 booking data for trips being booked for 2019. While a few of the usual tourist hot spots — like Tuscany and the Bahamas — made the list, there were a number of surprising, far-flung locations people are jetting off to. Another twist? The two American cities that snagged spots aren’t New York City or Los Angeles.

These are the top trending travel destinations for 2019, according to American Express.

Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona is widely-known as a vacation hot spot. Rich in history, culture and delicious food, this beachside city experienced a 26 percent year-over-year booking increase among American Express cardmembers.

Doha, Qatar

Bookings to Doha, Qatar were up 31 percent among AMEX cardmembers year-over-year, making it a trending destination for 2019. The city is known for its art scene (the Museum of Islamic Art is located here), as well as its dynamic architecture.

Hamburg, Germany

Hamburg, Germany has certainly earned its spot on AMEX’s list of trending destinations for 2019; bookings were up a whopping 62 percent year-over-year. Hamburg touts Germany’s biggest port, is the country’s second-largest city, and has everything from a fun nightlife scene to beautiful architecture.

Marrakech, Morocco

With bookings up an impressive 89 percent year-over-year among AMEX cardmembers, Marrakech, Morocco is a trending destination for 2019. Marrakech oozes with culture and art and is certainly a sight to see, with beautiful palaces, gardens and museums.

New Zealand

Beautiful New Zealand is known for breathtaking views of forests, mountains, lakes, beaches and fjords. Bookings to New Zealand among AMEX cardmembers were up 25 percent year-over-year, making this hot spot a trending destination for 2019.

Nassau, Bahamas

Every year, vacationers flock to the Bahamas for some fun in the sun, and 2019 is shaping up to be no different: Cardmember bookings were up 63 percent year-over-year to Nassau, Bahamas.

Savannah, Georgia, U.S.

Savannah, Georgia, beat out major metros like New York City and Los Angeles as one of the only cities in the United States to crack AMEX’s trending destinations for 2019. Savannah experienced a 95 percent year-over-year increase in bookings. This southern city is rich in history, art and culture, and has even been lauded as one of the most romantic cities in the U.S.


Many people must have gotten the travel bug for Singapore after seeing the hit movie “Crazy Rich Asians,” which takes place in the island country. Bookings to Singapore among AMEX cardmembers were up 24 percent, year-over-year. Singapore offers everything from eye-popping botanical gardens to Michelin-starred food stalls.

Tuscany, Italy

Tuscany, Italy, is a favorite among tourists, and 2019 will likely be no different. The iconic city experienced a 25 percent year-over-year spike in bookings among AMEX cardmembers. Tuscany offers renowned food and wine, as well as stunning landscapes and architecture.

Washington, D.C., U.S.

The second U.S. city to snag a spot on AMEX’s list of 2019 trending destinations is none other than Washington, D.C. The nation’s capital boasts a 21 percent year-over-year increase in bookings among AMEX cardmembers.

Don’t miss:

How to travel to Singapore ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ style for cheap

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