Australian bookmaker BetEasy will cease to exist after the £10 billion tie-up between its parent company, The Stars Group, and Irish gambling powerhouse Flutter Entertainment, news emerged earlier today.
The BetEasy operation will be taken over by Sportsbet, Flutter’s Australia-facing business.
Today’s announcement indicates a shift in The Stars and Flutter’s previous plans to run a dual brand strategy in the Australian sports betting market. As per the new plan, the BetEasy brand will be replaced by Sportsbet.
The move will provide Sportsbet with additional strength against its biggest Australian rival Tabcorp, which was, too, formed as a result of a mega-merger between local wagering houses Tabcorp and Tatts a couple of years ago.
The BetEasy brand was part of the Australian betting space up until 2015 when it was rebranded as CrownBet as it became part of casino operator Crown Resorts. In early 2018, The Stars acquired an 80% stake in CrownBet.
It should be noted that shortly before the The Stars’ acquisition of a majority stake in CrownBet, the latter had acquired William Hill’s Australian business. The Stars rebranded the recently purchased and enlarged business as BetEasy in the summer of 2018.
Late last year, the Canadian multi-brand gambling group bought the remaining 20% of BetEasy to assume full control over the gambling business.
Stars-Flutter Tie-Up Targets June Completion
The Stars and Flutter announced their tie-up in October 2019. Management at the two companies said earlier this month that their combination is slated to be completed at some point in the second quarter of the year, possibly in June.
Shareholders of both companies are yet to vote on the mega-deal but this is anticipated to happen in the next few days.
In late March, the UK Competition and Markets Authority cleared the merger after opening an investigation into the deal that would form one of the world’s largest gambling companies at the start of February.
And it was in February again when the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission gave informal approval to the deal.
Commenting on news that Flutter and Stars will pursue a single brand strategy in Australia, a Sportsbet spokesperson told local media earlier today that this decision “is subject to ratification once the proposed combination with The Stars Group is completed.”
The Sportsbet spokesperson went on to say that they have decided to run a single brand in Australia “principally because of the ongoing volatility to sports betting competitions around the world.”
A single brand customer migration would be carried out in “a shorter timeframe”, the spokesperson added, which would allow the combined entity to focus its attention “on providing the best possible experience for our customers.”