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The Stars Group Agrees to Acquire BetEasy Minority Interest; Settles Performance Payment

George Miller

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The Stars GroupThe Stars Group Agrees to Acquire BetEasy Minority Interest; Settles Performance Paymentand Penn National Gaming Enter Agreement for Online Betting and Gaming Market Access
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The Stars Group Inc. announced that it has agreed with the minority shareholders of BetEasy, its Australian-based sports betting business, to acquire the remaining 20% interest in the company for AUD$151 million. As part of this agreement, The Stars Group also agreed to pay AUD$100 million to settle the previously disclosed performance payment under the agreements for its 2018 acquisition of the initial 80% interest.

“I’m delighted to reach this agreement for our BetEasy business,” said Rafi Ashkenazi, Chief Executive Officer of The Stars Group. “The launch of BetEasy through our acquisitions of CrownBet and William Hill Australia in 2018 created one of the leading operators in Australia and increased our exposure to a high-growth regulated market. Matt Tripp’s entrepreneurial spirit and vision has guided BetEasy since he founded the business and we are glad he will oversee the transition as non-executive President,” concluded Mr Ashkenazi.

The Stars Group currently expects to complete the minority acquisition within 90 days following the earlier of either the issuance of The Stars Group’s audited financial statements for the year-ended December 31, 2020 or the completion of the previously announced board-recommended all share combination of The Stars Group with Flutter Entertainment Plc. The purchase price will be settled in cash unless it follows the completion of the combination, in which case Flutter may elect to settle in cash, Flutter ordinary shares or a combination of the same.

In addition to the acquisition of the remaining interest, The Stars Group will settle the performance, or earn-out, payment to the minority shareholders for AUD$100 million. The performance payment, which could have reached AUD$232 million, was subject to certain performance conditions primarily related to BetEasy’s EBITDA.

Also as part of the agreement, The Stars Group will repay AUD$56.9 million of outstanding BetEasy minority shareholder loans.

Matt Tripp, BetEasy’s CEO, will provide ongoing leadership as the non-executive President of BetEasy beginning January 1, 2020, with Andrew Menz, who previously served as BetEasy’s Director of Strategy & Regulatory Affairs, as his successor in the CEO role. Mr Menz was previously the Legal and Corporate Affairs Director of Betfair Australia and was at the forefront of the establishment of Responsible Wagering Australia, a key group for Australia’s online wagering industry.

“I’m pleased to see our long-term succession plan come to fruition.  Andrew Menz brings deep commercial and regulatory experience which leaves BetEasy in a strong position to continue delivering profitable growth,” said Matt Tripp. “I know that this business, which we founded back in 2013, is in very capable hands with a strong executive team and the backing of The Stars Group, who have been terrific partners and global leaders in this industry,” he concluded.

 

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Australia

Tabcorp Revenue Declines 5.7% During Three Months to September 2020

Niji Narayan

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Tabcorp Revenue Declines 5.7% During Three Months to September 2020
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Australia’s Tabcorp has reported a 5.7% decline in revenue for the three months to September 2020.

The trading update formed part of an investor presentation at the company’s AGM, with Managing Director and CEO David Attenborough revealing the slight 5.7% decline was mainly felt in its Gaming Services segment which fell 55.2% on the closure of licensed venues. Lotteries and Keno revenue was down 6.9% year-on-year with Wagering and Media down 2.9%.

“The duration and severity of COVID-19 is unclear, however Tabcorp remains well placed with our resilient, diversified earnings base and strengthened balance sheet,” Attenborough said.

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Australia

AUSTRAC Launches Formal Investigation into Crown Melbourne Over AML Concerns

Niji Narayan

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AUSTRAC Launches Formal Investigation into Crown Melbourne Over AML Concerns
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AUSTRAC, Australia’s financial crime watchdog, has launched a formal investigation into potential infringements of the country’s anti-money laundering laws by Crown Resorts.

In a Monday morning filing with the Australian Securities Exchange, Crown revealed that it had been informed of the investigation by AUSTRAC after the authority’s Regulatory Operations branch identified potential non-compliance by Crown Melbourne of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorism Financing Act 2006 and the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorism Financing Rules 2007.

The potential non-compliance relates to “ongoing customer due diligence, and adopting, maintain and complying with an anti-money laundering/counter terrorism financing program,” Crown said.

It added that the concerns were identified “in the course of a compliance assessment that commenced in September 2019 and focused on Crown Melbourne’s management of customers identified as high risk and politically exposed persons.”

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Australia

ACMA Moves to Block Two More Illegal Gambling Websites

Niji Narayan

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ACMA Moves to Block Two More Illegal Gambling Websites
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The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is set to request the Australian internet service providers (ISPs) to block two more illegal offshore gambling websites.

The sites to be blocked are Dinkum Pokies and Fortune Clock Casino. Following numerous complaints about these services, including complaints about withholding winnings and poor player treatment, ACMA undertook investigations that found them to be operating in breach of the Interactive Gambling Act 2001.

Website blocking is one of a range of enforcement options to protect Australians against illegal online gambling. Since the ACMA made its first blocking request in November 2019, 150 illegal gambling websites have been blocked.

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