The Sportsman paper gambles on giving staff stake

The Sportsman, Britain’s new daily newspaper for gamblers, is to award every staff member share options in the new company, which together will comprise a total shareholding of 10%.

The London-headquartered title is expected to launch this month.

Chairman Jeremy Deedes hopes the share options will be an incentive for staff to perform.

About 90 employees are currently working at the newspaper, which is expected to eventually employ 120.

Deedes, the former chief executive of the Telegraph Group, said: "It is my belief that any company in which staff have a holding makes for a more successful firm.

"If they own a little piece of every piece of furniture, it develops respect for the company, and a greater pride in the place where they work and the product they’re trying to produce."

The share option deal will require staff to hold the shares until the company is either sold or floated. Employees that resign before then will end up forfeiting their entitlement.

"If the company is sold or floated, that will establish the value of the company and thereby the value of the share," added Deedes.

He would not be drawn on how long staff would have to wait to cash in their share options.

"The likelihood is that it would not be before a sale. The length of that period is a company matter," he added.

Group editor-in-chief Charlie Methven has reportedly welcomed the share option plan.

It is understood the company has secured £12 million in funding, largely from private investors.