Australian casino operator Crown Resorts Ltd announced on Wednesday the completion of the sale of its 62 percent interest held in horse racing and sports betting brand CrownBet Pty Ltd – together with loans advanced by it to CrownBet – for AUD150 million (US$116.9 million). The sports betting brand was sold to Canada-based The Stars Group Inc, the owner of online poker and poker tournaments brand PokerStars.
“We are excited to enter the regulated Australian sportsbook market with CrownBet. CrownBet has become one of the fastest-growing online sportsbooks in Australia through its strong management team, proprietary technology, mobile app, unique partnerships and market leading loyalty programme,” said chief executive of The Stars Group, Rafi Ashkenazi, in comments included in a Wednesday release issued by the latter firm.
According to the document, the purchase of CrownBet was completed under a partnership with the other shareholders of CrownBet, including the CrownBet management led by the brand’s founder and chief executive, Matthew Tripp.
Mr Tripp will remain as chief executive of CrownBet, The Stars Group said, adding it would be entitled to appoint “a majority of the directors” on the CrownBet board.
The release added that one of Australia’s gaming regulators – the Northern Territory Racing Commission – had given its approval for the transaction subject to The Stars Group satisfying “certain standard conditions”.
The vendor Crown Resorts has seen its group-wide revenue in the six months to December 31, 2017, increase by 1.4 percent year-on-year to AUD1.79 billion. The firm’s net profit in the period was however down by 33.6 percent to AUD238.6 million.
Crown Resorts’ overall results had been boosted by some asset sales during the period, including gains from the sale of its interest in the 34.6-acre (14-hectare) vacant site on Las Vegas Boulevard to a subsidiary of casino firm Wynn Resorts Ltd, for US$300 million.
"The positive underlying contribution from each of our operating segments provides a strong start to the year"
Chief executive of lottery and gaming supplier IGT