The Chief Executive Officer of the gambling company which owns Ladbrokes Coral has faced criticism in the US for his supervision of the operator’s past dealings in Turkey, where online gambling is not currently legal.
The boss of GVC Holdings, Kenny Alexander, was questioned by regulators in the state of Nevada during a meeting set to help the British gambling giant to secure an operating license there. According to reports, one of the members of the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) has questioned the gambling company’s CEO over the operations which GVC Holdings once had in Turkey. The operator then disposed of the services at the end of 2017 to help its £3.2-billion acquisition of the British bookmaker Ladbrokes Coral.
As revealed by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, at a meeting of the NGCB earlier this week, Mr Alexander got under fire for the period of his supervision when GVC Holdings owned some operations in Turkey. As mentioned above, one of the board members, Terry Johnson, put Mr Alexander’s management under question and voted not to provide the British gambling giant with an operating license in Nevada. Two other board members voted in favour of the approval, so a provisional license was eventually given to the company.
GVC Holdings Exited Turkish Gambling Market in 2017
GVC Holdings has been in operation for a decade and a half, since 2004, and has managed to turn to one of the largest and most influential gambling operators in the UK thanks to a series of significant merger and acquisition deals. Much of that growth has happened under the lead of Mr Alexander who took over the position of Chief Executive Officer in 2007.
Now, the past operations of GVC Holdings in some unregulated gambling markets are still found concerning by some gambling authorities.
As far as the Turkish assets of the operator are concerned, GVC Holdings first planned to sell them to Ropso Malta for about €150 million. The British gambling company, however, was in a hurry to dispose of its operations in Turkey, so in the end, it transferred the business to Ropso Malta for free.
Previously, Ladbrokes Coral had shared some concerns about GVC operating in a country which has a very strict regime towards gambling and where most forms of gambling are currently suspended. Now, it is exactly such operations which have been in the bottom of the British gambling giant’s troubles in Nevada.
A spokesman of GVC Holdings addressed the concerns expressed by some members of the Nevada Gaming Control Board, highlighting the fact that the operator officially left the Turkish gambling market in 2017 and to date, 92% of the company’s income is generated in taxed and regulated gambling markets.
Apart from the difficulties faced by GVC Holdings at the time when it was granted a provisional license in Nevada, entering the US market would mean facing greater competition, especially at a time when Stars Group has just announced a deal with Fox Sports. Still, GVC is one of the British gambling companies which seek further global expansion, including in the US, to take advantage of the newly-opened sports betting sector so that it compensates for the operators’ losses on their home market.