New Giant in the Online Gaming Industry Emerges in Canada

For years, gambling in Canada has been forced to take a backseat. Sitting behind the likes of the United Kingdom and the United States when it comes to notoriety, Canadian gamblers have had every right to have felt somewhat slighted. But, in 2018 times are changing, with a new deal set to put gambling in the Great White North in the spotlight.

The Stars Group Strikes a Deal

It’s a deal that has the whole gambling industry talking. UK sportsbook giant Sky Betting and Gaming (commonly listed as Sky Bet or SBG) will be sold in a deal worth £2.5 billion to The Stars Group. Odds are you will already be familiar with The Stars Group, as they’re the company behind PokerStars, one of the most popular online card rooms in the world. Speaking on the deal to acquire Sky Bet, The Stars Group believe that it represents “a landmark moment” for both the company and the industry on a whole. Praising Sky Bet, Rafi Ashkenazi (Stars Group Chief Executive) said, “SBG operates one of the world’s fastest growing sportsbooks and is one of the United Kingdom’s leading gaming providers.” The deal is expected to be completed before the end of 2018.

SkyBet is a True UK Sports Betting Powerhouse

The Stars Group has regularly been discussing its need for growth, with this move certainly representing a massive step in that direction. Sky Bet is easily one of the largest betting brands in the United Kingdom, with it linked – even if it is just via branding – to the UK’s biggest cable TV provider. The brand is also known for its impressive marketing exploits, with Sky Bet currently in the middle of a multimillion-pound sponsorship deal with the English Football League. Considering its large member base, public perception, and consistently strong financial performance, it certainly makes sense that The Stars Group would be willing to pay big in order to add it to the company’s portfolio.

An Ever-Expanding Portfolio

Originally known as Amaya, The Stars Group is headquartered in Toronto, Canada, but there is no denying that this company has a true global profile. For the most part, The Stars Group is known for its table game products – specifically online poker. In fact, through its brands PokerStars, PokerStars Casino, BetStars, and Full Tilt Poker, it can be argued that The Stars Group is the biggest online poker company in the world. What the company is also becoming known for is its aggressive expansion and promotional tactics, as The Stars Group hasn’t been afraid to acquire rival brands in order to increase its market share.

An Industry Changing Acquisition

The Stars Group is often tagged as being online poker centered. This deal represents an attempt to diversify, as by acquiring one of the biggest UK sports betting brands around it’s adding a proven force to its product family. While the deal is certainly costly, The Stars Group is following in the footsteps of other e-gaming giants. In correlation with other major mergers and acquisitions in the e-gaming industry, this deal is about to create another publicly listed company with both massive betting and casino brands.

Merger Fever is in Full Swing

“Merger” is the buzzword in the e-gaming industry right now, as a seismic shift in the online gambling landscape has seen several major powers come together. Looking back over the past several years, we’ve seen some pretty huge deals take place, including IPS acquiring LeoVegas, Scientific Games buying NYX, and probably the most publicly discussed deal of them all, GVC’s acquisition of Ladbrokes Coral. The Stars Group has also played a major part in the sweep of “merger fever”, as it’s acquired William Hill, Crownbet, and now SkyBet in the past two years alone. 

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