SportingBet hires Chime agencies for comms job

SportingBet, the world’s only global internet-based gaming company, has recruited a raft of Chime-owned agencies, led by Bell Pottinger Consultants, to handle its PR.

The organisation wants to protect its position as leader in a market that faces prohibition in the US. An initial five-way pitch was whittled down to a contest with Citigate Dewe Rogerson.

The gaming company has appointed IR Focus for its investor relations brief, while Good Relations will provide political consultancy. Smithfield, in which Chime holds a 19 per cent stake, will handle financial PR.

Bell Pottinger Consultants is providing strategy and brand development, according to director Anthony Fisher, who leads the account.

He reports to SportingBet chief executive Nigel Payne, group finance director Andrew McIver, and founder and vice-chairman Mark Blandford. Blandford said that the company, which previously only used one agency, Cubitt Consulting, recruited the group to lobby in the US and the UK.

‘We feel this is a stepping up of effort,’ he added. ‘We’re in a fledgling and fast-growing sector, which is a very exciting place to be.

‘We are facing the prospect of deregulation in the UK, which we welcome, and prohibition in the US, for which we are using the lobbying capabilities of Good Relations, communicating with our US lobbying group Greenberg Traurig.’

Blandford added: ‘As a profitable company, which is trading at a price-earnings ratio of five, clearly there is a big investor relations story to be told.’

The value of the contract has not been disclosed, but SportingBet’s total spend above and below-the-line has increased to £20m this year from £16m in 2003. A quarter of that goes on marketing, communications, events and competitions.

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