Ladbrokes doubles down on Oz with £12.4m takeover of Betstar

Oliver Smith
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LADBROKES has expanded its Australian business with the £12.4m acquisition of online betting firm Betstar, as the bookie faces increasing regulatory and tax pressures in Britain.

European bookmakers including William Hill and Paddy Power have been expanding in Australia, where online gambling rules and taxation are stable.

Ladbrokes said Betstar’s 40,000 customers, and AU$214m (£119.6m) gross stakes, would lead to annual cost synergies of around AU$5m for the businesses.

“Australia represents one of the most vibrant regulated sports betting markets in the world and today’s announcement will see us add new customers to our growing presence,” said Ladbrokes international managing director Damian Cope.

Moody’s yesterday downgraded Ladbrokes’ debt rating to negative following the firm’s weak financial performance and changes to the tax on gaming machines in the Budget last month.

Ladbrokes shares rose 1.8 per cent on the news yesterday to close at 136.6p.