Is Centrebet Withdrawing?

Reduced field of operations for Australian online sportsbook

A surprising statement has been made this week by the Australian online gambling group Centrebet, indicating a withdrawal from several markets:

"As of 1st August all advertising outside our core regions must cease.

"This includes all free bets and bonus offers for all products, including sports, racing, casino, poker, games and arcade.

"The core-regions are: Australia, Denmark, Greece, Cyprus and Norway.

"If your websites are not specifically directed at Australia, Denmark, Greece, Cyprus or Norway, please remove any mention of Centrebet from your sites, this includes text, images or any links.

"Offers in our core-regions of Australia, Denmark, Greece, Cyprus and Norway will continue to be available as normal."

The withdrawal has not been explained further, but the announcement has triggered speculations that the reason may be related to the recent agreement by Sportingbet plc to buy Centrebet for some A$183 million. Once this deal is finalized, Sportingbet will merge Centrebet and Sportingbet's Aussie operations into a single unified business. This move is expected to yield synergies of about A$17 million a year.

In a recent interview, CEO Andrew McIver stated that 'Sportingbet needs to balance its portfolio, since it makes 60 percent of its revenue in Europe and 20 percent in Australia.' He also assessed that the Centrebet acquisition will increase Australia's revenue contribution to 30 percent.

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