CrownBet and William Hill Australia Set to Combine into BetEasy

Australian sports betting operator CrownBet is set to rebrand as BetEasy following the recent acquisition of William Hill Australia’s assets, the company’s CEO Matt Tripp said yesterday in an interview with local news outlet Fairfax Media. The rebranded business will relaunch in mid-August.

William Hill announced early this year that it was reviewing its underperforming Australian business and that its sale was among the possibilities under consideration. Following a fierce bidding process, CrownBet was announced as the buyer of the struggling betting operation in February. At about the same time, it was announced that Canadian gambling giant The Stars Group would acquire an 80% equity in CrownBet from Australian casino operator Crown Resorts.

Reports emerged this spring following the above acquisition deals that CrownBet was planning to rebrand as part of its combination with William Hill Australia. It also became known that Mr. Tripp and his team had chosen the Sportingbet name, the name of a locally popular betting operator once run by his father, Alan.

Sportingbet was one of three brands acquired by William Hill when it entered the Australian gambling market a few years ago, with the other two being Tom Waterhouse and Centrebet. The British bookmaker later on combined the three businesses into William Hill Australia.

CrownBet’s original rebrand plan fell through after Paddy Power Betfair’s Australian business, Sportsbet, challenged the move in Federal Court, arguing that the Sportingbet brand sounded too similar to its own, which might confuse customers the two separate operations are actually one and the same or are somehow related. The court issued an order temporarily blocking the planned rebrand.

BetEasy Rebrand

Mr. Tripp announced Tuesday that they have selected a new name for the combined business. According to the executive, BetEasy would resonate with their customers, both the CrownBet and the William Hill Australia ones.

Mr. Tripp pointed out that he was a little bit personally disappointed because he “had [his] heart on Sportingbet,” but he did not take personal offense at Sportsbet’s legal action.

The combination of CrownBet and William Hill’s Australian operations will create the nation’s third largest sports betting operator, with Tabcorp and Sportsbet being the largest two. It is also important to note that BetEasy is being born at a time when licensed Australian operators are facing tighter advertising restrictions, new taxes, and heavy competition.

Mr. Tripp told Fairfax Media that while they supported the introduction of measures aimed at protecting gambling customers more effectively, they could not just “sugarcoat” the reality of operators being faced with greater challenges than ever before.

A number of Australian states and territories have already introduced or are set to introduce point of consumption taxes, thus charging operators between 8% and 15% on their local revenues. Local lawmakers have cited the same reasons for implementing the new taxation regimes, arguing that governments should be able to benefit from the nation’s growing sports betting industry.

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