Betting merger given all clear by CMA

by Charlotte Lee Last Updated
Betting merger given all clear by CMA

The Competition and Markets Authority investigation into the merger between two of the world’s betting firms has been given the all clear.

Mirage News reports that the two companies, Flutter and Stars,  have a combined revenue of 1.5 billion pounds and the CMA investigation focused in particular on whether, as a result of the deal, customers who choose to place bets online could be offered less favourable odds, less generous promotions or poorly quality products, for example, as a result of reduced innovation in pricing and app experience.

Based on the evidence gathered as part of the investigation, the CMA has found that online betting companies compete strongly for customers.

There are a number of large and small sportsbook operators, in addition to the merging companies, with whom customers frequently open accounts and to whom they could easily switch.

These companies include the large operators, bet365, GVC/Ladbrokes Coral and William Hill.

The CMA therefore found that, while the merging companies compete closely, they are among a number of close competitors and the merger will not worsen the offering to people who choose to bet online.

Betfair withdraws NRL offering amid standoff

Global wagering giant Betfair has abandoned its rugby league offering just a month out from the start of the season.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the agency is steering clear of rugby league wagering in protest over how much betting companies should pay in gambling taxes.

The betting exchange made the announcement on Wednesday night as the feud between Australia’s biggest wagering firms and the NRL took another twist.

Betfair will not offer its clients the chance to match bets for pre-season matches, including this weekend’s All-Stars fixture and other high-profile trials such as the South Sydney and St George Illawarra Charity Shield clash, until it strikes a deal with the NRL.

Betfair and other wagering firms have been at loggerheads with the NRL for months over how much the code should charge to allow betting on its matches.

The Herald revealed last month the NRL had proposed a super tax to be levied on bookmakers to offer markets on some of its highest profile matches such as State of Origin and the grand finale.

Product fee model traditionally seen in racing

It is a product fee model often used by horse racing regulators who cash in on wagering on marquee race meetings during the autumn and spring carnivals.

But the NRL’s stance on product fees, which wagering insiders claim would see it become the highest taxed domestic sport, has infuriated the chiefs of Australia’s biggest betting companies who are still to strike a deal with League Central.

The Eels- Bulldogs season opener will be played on March 12.

Tension between the parties is nothing new and the NRL was forced to roll over a temporary accord for several months last year when it couldn’t agree on a permanent fee structure before the beginning of the 2019 season.

It eventually settled on a tax model with bookmakers just before the opening State of Origin match in Brisbane.

But the one-year deal, backdated to the start of the season, meant the NRL executive and bookmakers would have to return to the negotiating table before the start of the season.

Again, the parties are nowhere near finding common ground.

Wagering sources have said that most bookmakers are yet to sign up to the NRL’s new proposed fee structure, but most of those are still offering markets on pre-season matches such as the All-Stars game on the Gold Coast.

They claim the NRL’s new agreement would deliver the code an extra windfall in the millions per year should it be signed off.

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