Flutter Brand Sportsbet to Absorb Australian Rival BetEasy

  • Parent companies Flutter Entertainment and The Stars Group are set to merge
  • Single-brand strategy mainly adopted due to ongoing COVID-19 uncertainty
  • Pending approval vote by The Stars Group shareholders, merger set to be in place by Q3 
  • Both firms fully committed to deal completion despite current pandemic situation
flag of Australia waves over Perth
Sportsbet is set to absorb Australian rival sportsbook brand BetEasy as soon as the merger between their parent companies takes place. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Market consolidation

Sportsbet is set to absorb its rival Australian online betting operator BetEasy when their parent companies merge. Flutter Entertainment and The Stars Group are close to completing a deal that will see the creation of the biggest online gambling company in the world. 

BetEasy staff have been informed of the imminent move. No indication has been given as to whether there will be any redundancies within either of the two firms.  

Change in strategy

Previously, both sportsbook brands were set to retain their place in the Australian market. Now, a spokesperson for Sportsbet has said that Flutter

currently intends to pursue a single brand strategy for its Australian operation.”

The main reasoning behind the revised approach related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic issues that are affecting the sports world and the global economy. Flutter will be able to deliver a better overall experience for customers once the BetEasy customer base has been quickly integrated into Sportsbet. 

Plans for the merger

The deal between Flutter and The Stars Group was officially announced in October 2019. The plan is to have it fully wrapped up before the third quarter of 2020. 

On Tuesday, Flutter shareholders voted in favor of the merger with an overwhelming 99.19% of votes. The Stars Group shareholders will be voting on the issue on April 24. 

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission gave its preliminary approval for the deal in February. The unified company will be controlling about a quarter of the entire online betting sector in the country. The Irish Competition and Consumer Protection Commission greenlighted the merger of the soon-to-be Dublin-headquartered company last week.

No foreseen pandemic delays

Expectations are that the ongoing pandemic will not have an effect on the timeline of the parent companies’ merger.

While Flutter did register significant sports betting revenue declines in Q1 of 2020, it still saw revenue growth of 16% for the period. 

fully committed to the merger agreement

The Stars Group reported a record-breaking quarter thanks to the large transition to online poker and online casinos amid the outbreak. Revenues hit nearly $735m, a year-on-year rise of 27%. In the earnings announcement, CEO Rafi Ashkenazi said the company remained fully committed to the merger agreement with Flutter. 

Short lifespan for BetEasy

BetEasy was started by Matthew Tripp in 2014 after selling Sportsbet to Flutter brand Paddy Power. It then became part of a joint venture along with the major casino company in Australia, Crown Resorts. This led to the sportsbook rebranding to CrownBet. The name was changed back to BetEasy after the company acquired the Australian operations of William Hill in 2018. 

The Stars Group ended up buying a majority stake in the brand, buying out all remaining shares in December 2019. 

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