Thursday newspaper round-up: Sportsbet, Camelot, Vodafone

Wealth taxes will be needed to fund a £76bn a year increase in government spending by the end of the decade, caused by an ageing population and more expensive healthcare, a thinktank has said. The Resolution Foundation said the UK was on course to see the size of the state match that of Germany by 2030, and warned new methods of raising money to pay for higher spending would be needed. – Guardian

Online bookie Sportsbet will pay $3.7m in fines and penalties after breaking spam laws by sending more than 150,000 text messages and emails promoting gambling to customers who had tried to unsubscribe. The amount includes the biggest penalty to date for breaking Australian spam laws, of $2.5m, with the remainder made up by refunds Sportsbet has agreed to pay to customers who made bets after receiving the unwanted marketing messages. – Guardian

The National Lottery operator Camelot is on track to retain its lucrative licence after it won the endorsement of the gambling regulator, The Telegraph can reveal. In a move likely to trigger a final round of intensive campaigning by rivals, it is understood that the Gambling Commission has recommended that Camelot be awarded “preferred bidder” status. – Telegraph

A gym chain backed by Rishi Sunak’s wife is on the verge of collapse after suffering “extraordinary” challenges during successive lockdowns. Digme Fitness, in which the Chancellor’s wife Akshata Murthy holds a 4.2pc stake, has filed a notice of its intention to appoint administrators after failing to relaunch itself as an online business in the pandemic. The company has also hired Shoosmiths, the law firm, to advise on a restructuring. The court filing will protect Digme Fitness from its creditors for 14 days. – Telegraph

Britain’s largest financial firms have been warned to strengthen their cyber-defences amid worries that rising tensions between Russia and the West could lead to Moscow-backed hacks against banks. The Financial Conduct Authority has written to the bosses of the biggest businesses in the City to urge them to reinforce their cybersecurity systems. The warning comes as fears mount that Russia is planning to invade Ukraine. – The Times

Telecoms giant Vodafone has reportedly approached rival Three UK about a multibillion-pound takeover that could spark a wave of interest in Britain’s smallest mobile operator. The FTSE 100 company explored a deal last month to buy Three from CK Hutchison, the Hong Kong group controlled by billionaire Li Ka-shing, Bloomberg reported. The approach did not lead to a deal and the talks are not currently active. – The Times

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