Australian betting operator CrownBet filed earlier this week a “Change of company name reservation” form with the nation’s Securities and Investments Commission to reserve the Sportingbet Pty Ltd name, local news outlet The Australian Financial Review reports.
The move comes shortly after speculations had emerged that the company had been planning to rebrand itself and had picked the Sportingbet name. Sportingbet, once a major Australian gambling operator, had actually been established by CrownBet’s current Chief Executive Matt Tripp and his family.
CrownBet was owned by Australian casino operator Crown Resorts up until recently. It became known in March that Canadian gambling giant The Stars Group would buy an 80% stake in the business. It was also announced at about the same time that CrownBet was selected as the preferred bidder for the acquisition of William Hill’s ailing Australian business.
The major British bookmaker announced in January that it was reviewing its local operations and that a sale was among the options considered regarding the future of William Hill Australia. The company entered the Australian betting market back in 2013 with the acquisition of the Sportingbet, Centrebet, and Tom Waterhouse brands for nearly £460 million. William Hill then scrapped the three brands for its global brand. However, the operator never managed to gain footing in the highly competitive Australian betting market.
New Betting Taxes and Expected Impact on Operators’ Profitability
CrownBet’s acquisition of William Hill Australia and The Stars Group’s acquisition of CrownBet will create Australia’s third largest online gambling operator. However, analysts believe that the upcoming implementation of a point of consumption tax in a number of Australian states and territories will have enormously negative consequences for the industry and its stakeholders.
New South Wales announced yesterday that it would introduce a 10% tax on betting revenue generated by operators from local customers. The regime will take effect on January 1, 2019. The announcement came just a few days after the government of Queensland rolled out a similar measure. A point of consumption tax will come into effect in that state on October 1, 2018, but operators will be taxed at 15% on their local revenues.
South Australia was the first state to introduce a point of consumption taxation system and the tax has already taken effect there. Victoria announced that it would tax companies on 8% of their revenues, while the Australian Capital Territory’s 15% point of consumption tax is slated to come into effect at the turn of the year.
According to research firm Macquarie Wealth Management, the new wave of taxes across the nation would cost betting operators nearly A$200 million, which would leave CrownBet, Ladbrokes, and bet365’s local businesses strapped for cash. Macquarie believes that CrownBet’s EBIT would fall from $57 million to A$1 million after the implementation of the new taxation regimes, while Ladbrokes and bet365 would generate EBIT loss of A$19 million and A$13 million, respectively.