Sportingbet Keeps Focused on Regulated Markets

Published Monday, October 01, 2012 -

The online gambling industry is a double edged sword there are the regulated gambling service markets and then there are the unregulated markets. The recent dual offer to buy Sportingbet by GVC and William Hill is described as a case of wanting both sides of the coin and reaping the grass on both sides of the fence.

Where and what you do in the online gambling industry depends a lot on which market you want a stake in. The deal proposed by William Hill and GVC had its interests in both camps, the GVC grey market direction and the regulated assets of the Sportingbet wing. William Hill Online and its joint venture partner Playtech already does a portion of it business with unregulated markets but they are respectful of countries laws but believe the people who gamble online must be adherent to local laws. “For us, it’s a black and white issue: if it’s explicitly illegal to take online bets, such as in Turkey, we won’t advertise there and we won’t have local websites,” commented Lyndsay Wright, William Hill’s head of investor relations.

Sportingbet unloaded some Turkish unregulated properties just last year selling them to GVC for the tidy sum of €142.5m. Sportingbet has been expanding into the regulated market which some analysts say will lead to stagnation and poor growth. Andy McIver, chief executive officer of Sportingbet stated, “We used to operate a scattergun approach where we would operate in a country until the regulatory picture became clearer, so we withdrew from France and Turkey and got licenses in Australia and Spain.” McIver continued, “Our goal is to be as regulated as possible and it was just a case of when we reached that tipping point.” Sportingbet has the advantage of being smart enough to see the regulated European gambling market will be the safest place to be when unregulated markets become even more like the wild west.

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