The hottest news for today came from the backyard of the Canadian gambling giant The Stars Group (formerly known as Amaya). In a press release from earlier today, the company made a bombshell revelation that it has acquired a 62% equity interest in the Australia-based bookmaker CrownBet Holdings Pty Limited for an aggregate amount of approximately $117.7 million. PokerStars operator The Stars Group joined forces with CrownBet’s CEO Matt Tripp to buy 62% interest in CrownBet previously owned by Crown Resorts.
Last December, Australian casino operator Crown Resorts agreed to sell its 62% stake in online betting firm CrownBet to a consortium associated with other shareholders in CrownBet for AU$150 million ($117 million). It is interesting to note that the announcement came only a month after the UK bookmaker William Hill revealed that the company is in early stage talks to merge its Australian business with CrownBet.
Mere hours ago, it surfaced that the Canadian online gambling giant assumed control over the majority stake in CrownBet. Industry experts claim that the Canadian company is aiming at expanding its reach beyond family turf and consolidate its position in Australian gambling market. Almost a year ago, the company finally managed to climb out of the financial hole and start to look for more opportunities to re-establish its position in the gambling market.
Acquisition Turmoils Ahead of Problem Gambling Crackdown
In August last year, Amaya announced that it has completed its planned rebranding as The Stars Group and the relocation of its headquarters from Montreal to Toronto. In that way, the company broke up with its infamous David Baazov-related past and started to work on restructuring its business. The Stars Group announced that it is ready to consider merger and acquisition opportunities in an attempt to expand its casino and sportsbook business.
Needless to say, merger and acquisition activity within the gambling industry has reached unprecedented heights over the past several years. The never-ending regulatory changes and the rapidly growing gambling industry are the driving force behind a flurry of mergers and acquisitions. It is important to note that the news about Australian online sports betting operator CrownBet’s acquisition came amid a major crackdown on problem gambling in Australia that is to ban gambling operators from offering free bets, credits or other financial incentives to attract customers to open online betting accounts.
Industry observers stated that the recent acquisition of the majority interest in CrownBet by The Stars Group is a win-win situation for both parties. The Canadian fellow company will be able to expand its reach in the lucrative Australian gambling market, while CrownBet will be able to weather the upcoming regulatory storm in Australia and keep its head above the water.