The recent round of planned lay-offs coming from Ladbrokes hasn’t stopped the UK bookie from continuing its global expansion efforts. Fresh off of news of Lads’ plans to launch its own Spanish-facing online business, the bookmaker is also set to take its business all the way to the South Pacific with the expected purchase of Australian sports betting business Gaming Investments Pty Ltd.
Ladbrokes announced the agreement between the two companies on Wednesday, saying that the company had agreed to shell out a relatively cheap AUD$22.5 million (US$20.3 million) to purchase Gaming Investments and all of its subsidiaries, including online bookmaker Bookmaker.com.au and sports marketing company Panda Gaming.
According to Ladbrokes chief executive Richard Glynn, the decision to move in to the Australian market was part of the company’s long-standing strategy of expanding its business in important regulated markets. Turns out, Australia is one of those said markets and now that the transaction is complete, Lads can turn its focus on offering its highly-rated sportsbook offerings to the mates Down Under. Currently, the Australian online gambling market is worth around AUD$6 billion (US$5.4 billion) a year so it’s not like Ladbrokes is going to sweat it out doing business in a barren market.
“The acquisition of this fast growing business represents an excellent opportunity for Ladbrokes to establish a strong presence in Australia, in line with our strategy to extend geographic to reach to key regulated markets,” Glynn said.
“At launch, Ladbrokes Australia will have a highly experienced management team who are strongly incentivised to achieve further customer and revenue growth over the coming years.”
It should also be pointed out that Ladbrokes’ acquisition of Gaming Investments comes a month after one of its fiercest rivals, William Hill, agreed to purchase another Australian online betting company, Tom Waterhouse NT, for AUD$110 million (US$101 million) after already acquiring Sportingbet PLC’s Australian arm for AUD$670 million (US$614 million) earlier this year.
With Ladbrokes (and William Hill, for that matter) now in the Australian online gambling picture, it’ll be interesting to see how the two UK-based companies will be able to compete in a lucrative market that already has Sportingbet, Paddy Power, and Tabcorp all fighting for online gambling supremacy.