Australian casino operator Crown Resorts Ltd has confirmed it is in talks regarding the future of its 62-percent interest in horse race and sports betting brand CrownBet Pty Ltd.
The casino firm said in a Friday filing to the Australian Securities Exchange: “Crown Resorts Ltd notes media speculation today in relation to consolidation in the online wagering industry, including in relation to CrownBet, which is 62 percent owned by Crown.”
It added: “Crown evaluates opportunities regarding its investments from time to time… Crown confirms that it is in discussions concerning its interest in CrownBet. There is no certainty as to whether any transaction will eventuate.”
Crown Resorts has concluded this year some major realignment of its business. In May, the firm completed the disposal of its remaining stake in Asian casino operator Melco Resorts and Entertainment Ltd. The firm has also closed offices in several Asian jurisdictions, including in Macau.
The news on the CrownBet talks comes only two days after it was reported that the Australian Competition Tribunal had ruled that a proposed AUD11-billion (US$8.4-billion) merger between two of CrownBet’s biggest Australian rivals would have no negative effect on the country’s wagering sector and might actually increase competition.
CrownBet had opposed the planned merger between Tabcorp Holdings Ltd, an Australian wagering, gaming and keno operator, and Tatts Group Ltd, a wagering, lotteries and gaming business with operations in Australia and New Zealand.
According to The Economist newspaper, in 2016 Australians were the world’s most prolific gamblers when measured by total losses – i.e., staked money minus payouts and excluding expenses – per capita among the resident adult population, at nearly US$1,000.
The largest single component of the betting by Australians was via gaming machines, but bookmaker betting and online gambling were also contributors to a 2016 nationwide loss of US$18.6 billion, according to data compiled by H2 Gambling Capital. The latter describes itself as a market data, intelligence and bespoke consulting operation and is part of U.K.-based H2 Leisure Ltd.
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”We have not had discussions about the concession renewal with the [Macau] government. We have taken the view that if we continue to deliver on what we expect is the expectations from operators, then we will be treated fairly”
Chairman and chief executive of MGM Resorts, the parent of Macau casino operator MGM China