february pains european giants prepare australia rethink

february pains european giants prepare australia rethink

by 29.01.2018 0 comments

February 2018 will be a landmark month for all industry stakeholders. The sector’s current agenda and context is dominated by the pending UK government’s judgement on industry FOBTs wagering and advertising standards.

Nevertheless, it would be wise for all betting stakeholders to broaden their anxieties, as Australia moves to implement its ‘credit betting ban’ this 17 February, serving industry leadership a further headache.

Once deemed a golden frontier for betting operators, seeking to expand internationally within a sports-mad, English speaking nation, Australia has become a brutal terrain for its European settlers.

Reforming the 2001 Interactive Gambling Act’, the Australian Parliament has moved to implement the federal prohibition of ‘credit card wagering’ on digital gambling platforms.

Further market pains were dealt in 2017 as the Turnbull government moved to severely restricted bookmaker advertising, sanctioning a ‘siren to siren’ (start to finish) ban on all forms of gambling marketing during sports broadcasts through any public medium.

Finally, serving further market spasms for the industry’s leadership, a number of Australian states now seek to implement individual tax charges on operator betting services.

Under this extreme terrain, for European leaders, the tune of the Australian market has morphed from ‘Kylie’s Locomotion’ into a depressive ballad composed by Nick Cave.

First, to act on its ‘Australia dilemma’, this January, William Hill announced that it had implemented a strategic review of its William Hill Australia division.

Active in the market since 2012, William Hill is reported to have invested AUS $700 million (£450 million) on its Australian expansion, acquiring the online assets of Sportingbet.com.au. Centrebet and TomWaterhouse.com

Tough market trading in 2017  saw the FTSE bookmaker reveal that wagering had drastically declined for William Hill Australia. This weekend, news sources reported that the bookmaker was reviewing the sale of the division for a rumoured target price of AUS $100 million.

William Hill’s Australia quandary will be likely replicated by all European giants active within the market; Ladbrokes Coral, bet365, Paddy Power Betfair and Kindred Group.

Seeking to gain market traction, European operators have spent millions £/€ and ample corporate resources developing their Australian market propositions, be it through M&A, full-scale advertising campaigns or developing tailored betting platforms for Australian consumers.

Another complex leadership dynamic, sees European giants forced to review Australian assets and strategy, as their shareholders place a deep emphasis on international expansion away from home market comforts.

As February approaches, Australia will now be a further ‘big call’ for betting leaders during 2018. Once golden, Australian betting became a crowded house stifled by regulatory demands… Put simply can and should European operators keep their AUS dream alive?

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