Sat, Dec 22, 8:13am by Ed Scimia
The United Kingdom’s largest bookmaker is coming to Australia. William Hill – along with partner GVC Holdings – has agreed to pay £485 million to purchase Sportingbet, a purchase that will include all of Sportingbet’s Australian operations.
William Hill will directly take control of Sportingbet in Australia – that would be the Centrebet brand – as well as have the option of acquiring the company’s Spanish business interests. On the other hand, GVC will be given control over the rest of Sportingbet’s operations – most of which are in countries with uncertain regulatory schemes and are therefore riskier.
For Australian punters, not much should change. At least for the time being, it appears that William Hill will continue to run Sportingbet under that name, and offer the same services in Australia that are available now. The only difference will be behind the scenes, where the backing of William Hill will only improve Sportingbet’s financial position and security.
“This is bang in line with our strategy,” said William Hill CEO Ralph Topping. “More online revenues, more international revenues and more regulated revenues. We are laying the foundations today of success for the next 30 years.”
William Hill officials specifically pointed to Australia as a key part of their strategy moving forward. While the company has over 2,300 betting shops in the UK – making up the vast majority of their revenues – they have been seeking to expand to foreign markets, including the United States. But Australia is a prized market both because of the large number of gamblers here, and the fact that Australia is a strongly-regulated and stable marketplace for sports betting.
“The Aussie market is very attractive, growth rates are good, the proportion online is taking of that market is very good,” Topping said.
Similarly, William Hill targeted Spain because of their recent regulations on sports betting and other online gambling products. William Hill already has a presence in that country, but adding Sportingbet’s business will help them become a bigger player in the market there.
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