William Hill’s Move on the Market

21 August 2013 – By Linda Jefferson

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Earlier this year, in March, online gambling company William Hill bought TomWaterhouse.com.au and Sportingbet, two of the most popular online betting brands in Australia. William Hill, one of the biggest wagering operators in the UK, has spent $700 million establishing a presence in the Australian market. Now, the company’s representatives said they will replace online betting brands Sportingbet and Centrebet from the Australian marketplace with the William Hill brand. This is the first move of the London-based group, made in order to be able to take on online operations of local companies such as Tatts Group and Tabcorp. Tom Waterhouse’s brand will remain until December 2015, as part of a potential $70 million earn-out agreed to as part of the acquisition process struck earlier this year, in August.

William Hill’s CEO said in a statement the online casino company is trying to look for a unifying brand as Centrebet was a “secondary brand” and there was some confusion in the market between Sportingbet and Sportsbet, the online bookmaker owned by rival British giant Paddy Power. The Australian market is becoming more and more attractive for online casino operators all over the world. Other British online gambling firms are making their presence in the $26 billion local wagering industry. A couple of days ago, another major player based in London, Ladbrokes, announced the acquisition of local company Gaming Investments, in a $22.5 million transaction. This company is based in Brisbane and was founded by Dean Shannon, a local entrepreneur.

The project of a unifying brand would be discussed at a board meeting in London next week and the final decision will be taken within four to six weeks. Hill’s Chief Executive said the proposal is not a gut reaction and it is based on an assessment of the marketplace. The William Hill brand is 80 years old and running the Australian business under this brand seems like the most appropriate decision. According to analysts of the online gambling market in Australia, William Hill’s decision to axe online betting brands will bring premium services and products for online casino gambling fans in this country.

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