Ladbrokes and the Gala Coral Group are merging, but one condition remains, the group still need to sell up to 400 betting shops before the merger will be complete. The Competition Markets Authority has confirmed that the £2.3 billion merger of the major sports betting brands will occur but the shops must be done away with to be able to resolve any issues of competition due to the merger.
The decision by the Competition Markets Authority was announced this past Tuesday morning after an investigation into the merger took place by the gaming regulator. Back in May, it was determined that it would be necessary for the two companies to sell as many as 400 of their betting shops, which equals around 1/10 of the combined assets of both groups. This would lower the competition in 642 of the local areas.
Martin Cave is the Inquiry Chairman of Competition Markets Authority who stated that despite the fact that online betting has grown substantially in the past few years, the CMA found that a significant number of punters will visit shops and would continue to visit and wager after the merger is completed. Because of this, the CMA felt that the sale of the shops of the 400 number was needed to protect customers.
The 400 betting shop number was fine by Ladbrokes as well as Coral, who analysts felt would have to offload as many as 1,000 betting shops or more for their merger to be approved. There is currently interest by other sports books to purchase the betting shops. Betfred and Boylesports are just a few brands who have shown interest.
Currently, Ladbrokes operates 77 betting shops in the northern region of Ireland with 2,150 shops located in Britain. Coral has 1,850 shops located in Britain. After the merger, the two will become the largest bookmaker in the UK.