Industry Reports

William Hill’s Former Executive Becomes New Head of The Stars Group’s Online Sports Betting Platform

Earlier today, Canadian online gambling company The Stars Group (formerly known as Amaya Inc.) informed media that it appointed Andrew Lee at the position of managing director of its online sports betting platform Betstars. Mr. Lee is a well-known name in the gambling industry and he has a rich professional experience as a managing director of the British leading gambling operator William Hill.

William Hill’s ex-executive Andrew Lee is to assume the position of acting managing director of the Canadian online gaming group’s Betstars brand. The recent news has raised the industry’s eyebrows mainly because of the rumors about the possible merger of The Stars Group and its British fellow company. Lee has served as managing director of William Hill Online since October 2012. He took over the position from Henry Birch. Previously, Mr. Lee worked as an industry analyzer for more than 10 years. Mr. Lee boasts a considerable experience in iGaming and sports betting niche.

William Hill and The Stars Group Eyes Potential Merger

However, the news for Lee’s appointment came quite surprisingly, following rumors about the possible merger of the two companies. As it can be recalled, last year The Stars Group announced its intentions to embark on a shopping spree in an attempt to boost its sports betting division. For that purpose, the Canadian gambling giant announced that it eyes online casino and sports betting acquisitions. In 2016, The Stars Group entered merger talks with William Hill for the potential creation of a multi-billion gambling conglomerate.

At that moment, William Hill was exploring ways to weather the upcoming regulatory storm. Hence, the smartest move, that the British bookmaker could do, was to merge its business. Even though both parties were interested in the deal, the talks fell apart as shareholders in William Hills were reluctant to support the deal. The reason for the stakeholders to disapprove the deal was related to concerns that The Stars Group is a company with heavy financial burdens.

Last year, it surfaced that the two companies rekindled merger talks. At that time, the UK government was expected to release its triennial review into the country’s gambling sector. Among all other things, the review was focused on slashing the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) in an attempt to slow the pace at which players lose their money.

Industry observers explained that this is to hit the bookmakers’ profitability. In addition to that, the dramatic cut in the maximum stakes would also have a negative effect on the country’s total tax revenue. The entire gambling industry is currently expecting to learn what is the next step, which the British government will take a part of its looming crackdown on the FOBTs.