Greg Knight Managing Director of UK independent bookmaker Jenningsbet has criticised Paddy Power Betfair CEO Breon Corcoran for advising the government to reduce FOBTs wagering to a £10 limit.
Last month, it was revealed that Corcoran had written a letter to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), advising sports minister Tracey Crouch to drastically reduce wagering levels on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) for the government’s upcoming triennial review of the UK gambling industry.
In the letter, Corcoran stated that due to the ‘toxic nature of the debate’ surrounding FOBTs only significant action would suffice in ‘addressing societal concerns’.
Countering Corcoran’s actions, Greg Knight MD of Jenningsbet which operates 100 betting shops within the UK, states that Paddy Power Betfair’s leader is ‘deliberately undermining the UK retail betting sector’.
The Racing Post details that Knight has written to DCMS stating that he is ‘extremely concerned’ that a head of a department would take Corcoran’s letter at ‘face value’.
Knight tells DCMS that Corcoran’s opinion cannot be of influence as its driven by ‘blatant commercial consideration’, further stating that Paddy Power Betfair seek to ‘capitalise on the demise of the independent sector in the UK by takeover and market consolidation’.
Knight cites a 2017 Paddy Power Betfair investor presentation in which the company targets ‘significant market opportunities’ in taking over independent bookmaker real estate to grow its UK retail portfolio.
The Jenningsbet MD concludes that Corcoran and his firm are using the upcoming Triennial Review as a ‘private vehicle to deliver a long-term strategy of market domination’. Paddy Power Betfair has chosen not to respond to Knight’s comments.
Updating the market this August, Paddy Power Betfair governance announced that Breon Corcoran would be stepping down as leader of the firm, to be replaced by Worldpay CEO Peter Jackson. At present, Corcoran remains as Group CEO overseeing the leadership transition period.