Simon English: Is Ladbrokes chief on a loser as he makes a deal to woo internet punters?

Outlook. Plus: Don't let Paulson hedge bets on Puerto Rico; And here is the news as Buik bows out

Last week Ralph Topping raised a few eyebrows among gamblers in the City and elsewhere when he predicted that William Hill could be worth £5bn before too long.

Chief executives are paid to be bullish, or think they are, but from a present market value of less than £3bn that's a sizeable punt forward.

His belief that the rise in mobile phone betting has much further to go was aped yesterday by rival Ladbrokes, which struck a deal with Hill's erstwhile online partner Playtech.

On one hand the deal is a coup for Ladbrokes' Richard Glynn, who joined the company three years ago with a brief to rescue its sputtering internet effort.

Playtech is widely seen as one of the smartest players in the sector, not least due to the reputation of its founder, the Israeli billionaire Teddy Sagi.

Mr Glynn has already largely fixed the Ladbrokes shops, but is still well off the pace on the internet.

Its customers spend less money and less time on its websites than do rivals'.

So maybe Mr Glynn, after several false starts, is on the way to cracking it, though the terms aren't all in his favour.

One gambling observer put it like this: If you do a deal with Teddy Sagi, he got the better side of it.

Don't let Paulson hedge bets on Puerto Rico

Banker fails humility test, episode 987.

John Paulson, the US hedge fund king who made $15bn (£10bn) for his fund by cleverly betting that the subprime mortgage market was an absurd bubble, is said to be so annoyed at the taxes he has to pay for the privilege of living in Manhattan that he may move to Puerto Rico.

Now, there's nothing remotely wrong with betting that things will fall rather than rise – it's part of how markets work, and those subprime deals would have failed whether he had bet on them or not.

Still, he profited from other people's lives becoming a disaster, even if he didn't personally increase their misery.

In mortals, that might prompt pause for thought. Some soul-searching. A feeling that it might be good to, you know, give a bit back.

Instead Mr Paulson has been checking out Puerto Rico's real estate so he can eliminate taxes on his hedge fund gains by taking advantage of generous local tax laws, reports Bloomberg.

New York should tell Mr Paulson he's welcome to leave on the proviso that he never returns, just to see how serious he is about this.

There's a reason why Puerto Rico has to offer such tax deals – it is, shall we say, far from the loveliest of Caribbean islands. A place to visit, at best, rather than to live.

In the UK, the equivalent example sees some of our big shots occasionally threatening to take their money and depart to the Isle of Man, which has a top tax rate of 20 per cent.

You only have to go there once to get the feeling that the suicide rate must be about the same.

And here is the news as Buik bows out

For broadcasters looking for a City voice to enliven their coverage of what the stock market did today, or to defend what evil bankers got up to yesterday, David Buik has been the go-to-guy since God was a young boy (so it seems).

For print reporters desperately in need of similar, the same rule applied. If in doubt, or in a tight spot, phone the Buik hotline. He would come up with the goods and right quick.

Yesterday the old-time sage of the City announced that he would be moving on from Cantor Index, not bothering with the usual guff about wanting to spend more time with his family. He was made redundant, and said so.

If at times his commentary was verbose or even (ahem) a little right-leaning, politically speaking, that was part of the fun.

You didn't have to agree with him.

Beyond looking like Mr Pinstripe on the One O'Clock News (and the six and the ten), Buik performed other valuable roles, as lunch companion and confidante to financial hacks who may be in danger of taking themselves too seriously. Told a tale of woe about how awful life was, 50 years of experience at the sharp end of the City would be summoned and the gentlest word offered as the wine glass was refilled : Have a word with yourself, son.

Now he's gone, at least temporarily, a gaping hole in the market opens up. The good news is that the best person to fill it remains available for hire. After a well-deserved break, we trust.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Life and Style
food + drink
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Carlton Senior Appointments: Private Banking Manager - Intl Bank - Los Angeles

$200 - $350 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: Managing Producer – Office...

Carlton Senior Appointments: San Fran - Investment Advisor – Ind Advisory Firm

$125 - $225 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: San Fran - Investment Advi...

Sheridan Maine: Commercial Finance Manager

Up to £70,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...

Sheridan Maine: Regulatory Reporting Accountant

Up to £65,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas