LADBROKES has entered the rapidly-expanding Australian betting market.
The company has completed the acquisition of Australian licensed online bookmaker Bookmaker.com.au, which also owns a range of racing and sports affiliate sites in Australia.
Ladbrokes paid A$22.5m (€15.6m) for the deal, with some additional payment also due based on future performance.
Australia is attractive to betting companies because it is regulated, growing quickly and has fewer players than many online markets in Europe. It has proved highly successful for Paddy Power.
Bookmaker.com.au launched in February 2012 and has generated about €300m of amounts wagered (almost entirely Australia) in the 12 months to June 2013. The business has developed its own platform and an extensive range of affiliate sites. It will now be subsumed under the brand Ladbrokes.com.au, which is launching in Australia today.
Analaysts welcomed the move – but said the deal may be to small too have any real consequences. “There would appear at least to be room for another operator in the Australian market. In addition, the approach being taken by Ladbrokes is low-risk and relatively low-cost. Our one reservation about the move is whether this will ever really move the dial for Ladbrokes. This Australian business is very small relative to the market leaders and while it is growing fast, so too are its larger peers. In an industry where scale is increasingly important, we wonder whether there is an onus on the larger global operators to make bolder moves to consolidate their global reach” said Dublin stockbrokers Davy.