It’s been a long time in the offing, but finally the multi-billion pound takeover of Ladbrokes Coral by GVC Holdings has received the seal of approval from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). GVC, who are one of the biggest names in the sports betting and online gaming industry, had been targeting Ladbrokes Coral for a while, before they finally agreed a deal said to be worth in the region of £4bn.
The Competitions and Markets Authority had reservations when it came to the merger taking place as they felt there would be a ‘substantial lessening of competition’ in the UK gambling market if the move got the go ahead. This led to the CMA pressing ahead with a lengthy investigation in order to alleviate their concerns, and now they have approved the deal.
The £4bn merger had received approval from shareholders of both Ladbrokes Coral and GVC Holdings last month, as both sides saw the great potential the deal had. Kenneth Alexander, the GVC CEO, spoke of how it was “an exciting opportunity, bringing together industry leading online and retail brands.” With everything in place, the final part of the process was the move to be vetted by the CMA.
After approving the deal, the CMA said: “GVC has a small presence in the UK and only offers services online. The CMA has found that GVC and Ladbrokes are not close rivals and there are many other providers of betting and gaming services online. The CMA looked closely at betting services for individual sports and individual games but found that, in all cases, there will be enough rivals to the merged entity to prevent price increases or a reduced quality of service as a result of the merger.”
One of the key components of the merger was the investigation by the UK government into fixed odds betting terminals, or FOBTs, as they’re commonly referred too. With the online sports betting and gaming industry growing rapidly, it led to a decline on the high street, before FOBTs were introduced into betting shops. Concerns were raised due to how addictive they were and the fact that a person could bet a significant amount of cash in a very short space of time.
There were suggestions that the maximum stake would therefore be reduced to just £2, and it was believed this would have affected the amount of money GVC spent on the deal with Ladbrokes Coral, but a twelve-week investigation by the Gambling Commission found that in some cases, the maximum stake could be set at the higher amount of £30.
With this in mind, it means that GVC which includes brands like PartyCasino and Sportingbet, are now set to not only be one of the biggest players in the online world, but on the high street too. It’s a merger which sees expertise from all areas come together, ultimately making the collective even stronger. It’s set to be a huge 2018 for GVC and this is only just the beginning.