British sportsbetting giant William Hill is reportedly set to completely exit the Australian market after agreeing a deal to sell its William Hill Australia subsidiary to antipodean operator CrownBet Proprietary Limited for approximately $244 million.
According to a Tuesday report from the Reuters news service, William Hill’s divestment comes after the London-listed firm announced in January that it would be conducting a ‘strategic review’ of its Australian business in the face of an impending federal ban on operators offering credit as well as the prospect that several states may introduce new point-of-consumption taxes.
“Given the credit betting ban in Australia and the likely introduction of a point-of-consumption tax in a number of states, it is clear that profitability will increasingly come under pressure,” read a January 15 statement from William Hill cited by Reuters.
The news service reported that William Hill Australia has around 284,000 registered online and telephone customers across Australia and that its revenues had accounted for about 7% of its London-headquartered parent’s total takings last year alongside almost 6% of its adjusted operating profit.
For its part, CrownBet Proprietary Limited reportedly premiered four years ago and has since grown into one of the nation’s largest sportsbetting providers with annual revenues in 2017 of approximately $159 million. Last week purportedly saw Canadian firm The Stars Group Incorporated, which is responsible for the seemingly ubiquitous Full Tilt and PokerStars online gaming brands, shell out around $117.7 million in order to acquire a 62% stake in the Melbourne-based operator from previous majority shareholder Crown Resorts Limited.
“The disposal will allow William Hill to focus on continuing to grow our United Kingdom online and United States businesses, particularly as we prepare for the decision on the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act appeal due in 2018,” read a Tuesday statement from Philip Bowcock, Chief Executive Officer for William Hill, cited by the Racing Post newspaper.