Scots gambling tycoon took drunken joyride after stealing delivery driver's car

The former chief executive of one of the world’s largest betting companies stole a takeaway driver’s car from outside a kebab shop and took it for a drunken joyride.

Global business tycoon Kenneth Alexander sat shame-faced in the dock at Perth Sheriff Court yesterday as he admitted the bizarre late night incident.

The court was told that Alexander had “a moment of madness” and had been left “mortified” by his behaviour.

Alexander, 52, who recently retired as boss of the holding company for Labrokes and Coral, was banned from driving for a year and fined £1,000.

The FTSE 100 financial expert took the delivery driver’s car from outside the Marmaris Kebab shop in Perth when he was unable to get a taxi to take him home.

Fiscal depute Matthew Kerr told the court: “At 7pm the accused and another entered a bar and started to drink alcohol. At 10pm they decided to move on to order something to eat.

“After ordering food the staff were asked to order a taxi but they were told that none was available. the accused and the person he was with moved outside the shop.

“At 10.30 pm the delivery driver arrived with the intention of collecting orders. He left the car parked outside with the keys inside it.

“He observed the accused standing outside the shop eating his food as he entered. Once inside, the delivery driver heard the sound of car wheels spinning.

“He exited the shop and saw the accused driving away. Thereafter the delivery driver received information about the whereabouts of the car.

“He arrived and saw the accused sitting in the driver’s seat. The accused started to exit the vehicle and the delivery driver told him the police had been contacted.

“The accused ran off in the direction of the High Street. At 10.45 pm the police arrived at the scene and it was ascertained that the accused had arrived at his home.

“When the police arrived, the accused was standing in front of his house and stated ‘It’s me you’re looking for.’ He confirmed he drove the car in question. He was taken to custody having failed a breath test.”

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Alexander, from Perth, admitted taking and driving away a car from South Methven Street in Perth on 7 May this year. He also admitted driving without insurance and while he was over the alcohol limit [37/22 mics].

Solicitor John McLaughlin, defending, said: “He is married with two children and has been the holder of a driving licence since he was 17. He has never been in any trouble.

“He has been mortified by what has happened. He has previously been of good character but he doesn’t deny any of the offence.

“When the delivery driver arrived he spoke with him about the prospect of getting a lift home. In truth the driver is probably not allowed to do that.

“This was when his moment of madness occurred. He jumped in the car and ended up one street away having effectively driven once around the block.

“He can’t explain what went through his mind. When the delivery driver approached him he apologised to him and offered to pay for any inconvenience he had caused.

“His friend was still at the shop when police arrived, so he phoned him and when he answered he confirmed he was at home. He was told to wait for the police.

“He is retired but still uses his car for visiting relatives and things like that.”

Mr McLaughlin also put forward letters of support for Alexander which he asked the court not to make public.

Sheriff Pino di Emidio said: “You appear before the court as a man of relatively mature years, if you don’t mind me saying. You have been of hitherto impeccable character.”

The Scottish betting boss stepped down last summer after 13 years as chief executive of Ladbrokes and Coral owner GVC Holdings.

The Ayrshire-born chartered accountant turned GVC from an AIM-listed company into a FTSE 100 global business with a £3.6 billion turnover.

Alexander graduated from the University of Glasgow in accountancy and began his career with Grant Thornton, before taking over the European operations of Sportingbet.

He joined GVC as CEO in 2007 and steered the £1.1 billion reverse takeover of competitor Bwin in 2016 and Ladbrokes Coral Group in 2018.

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Upon retiring in July 2020, Alexander said: “I have given 13 years to GVC and I now want to give some time to my family.

“I have spent the last four months working from home and reflecting on my future plans, and this feels like the right moment.”

GVC Chairman Barry Gibson said: “Kenny has built a remarkable global business, and has achieved more in the past 13 years than most people manage in a lifetime.”

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