Ladbrokes buys Betstar for $20.7 million

    Ladbrokes said it has bought bookmaker Betstar for 12.4 million pounds ($20.7 million), helping to accelerate the growth of its Australian business. Betstar has approximately 40,000 registered customers and in the year to 31 March 2014, generated gross win of A$12.9 million ($12.08 million) on A$214 million amounts staked. Ladbrokes expects cost savings of $5 million from the migration of Betstar’s operations to Ladbrokes’ digital platform and the acquisition is expected to boost earnings in its first year. “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,” MD International Damian Cope said in a release. Commenting on the acquisition, analysts at JPMorgan said Ladbrokes may find it hard to achieve economies of scale in the Australian market. “We estimate that the combined Ladbrokes Australia and Betstar businesses will have around 5 percent share of the Australian online gambling market, whereas more than 80 percent of the market is now controlled by the top four operators – Tabcorp, WMH’s Sportingbet, PWL’s Sportsbet and Tatts.