Industry Consolidation

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We all knew the news was coming, but this week we got confirmation that the BetEasy brand would be no more. After the merger between parent companies it was not made clear if both brands would continue for the long-term, but now we know; Sportsbet get bigger and BetEasy will disappear from the wagering landscape in Australia.

Those who use BetEasy as their primary provider will (I am imagine) be disappointed, but what does it mean for the wider industry? Right now there are 14 fixed odds bookmakers listed on the Punters.com.au odds comparison. That now becomes 13. Four of those are all GVC brands with Ladbrokes, Neds, Bookmaker and Betstar all the same company. So that makes 10. There are of course plenty more for people to bet with including on-course bookies and those not listed on Punters, but 10 is still a lot of options for the average punter.

There are two main groups impacted by the merger; punters and competitors. So, how are they impacted and is it good or bad?

The Punter

It is easy to say that losing one company is bad; much like any industry, competition leads to improved products or reduced costs – ultimately there are more options. Now, punters who maybe took different bonus offers across Sportsbet and BetEasy don’t get that chance… not that Sportsbet are shy of an offer.

However, many of the recreational punters are enticed by marketing dollars. That isn’t to say that the product offered by the biggest corporate bookies isn’t good, but smaller operators maybe do not get the same level of attention from those casual gamblers.

We’ve done various surveys and bits of market research in recent times, and when asked what punters want the answers are always the same; “more promotions”, “sign-up offers”, “money back”. Typically these customers are just punting for fun, they aren’t overly bothered about the odds they get and winning or losing doesn’t really impact their punting behaviour from one week to the next.

At Sportsbetting.com.au we’d love to be able to change that mindset. Just because you’re not betting to earn a living, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try for more.

Talking of pros, they could be one subset of the market that is more impacted. There are some punters that are not able to bet to win more than minimum bet law amount so need to spread their bets. One less book may hurt their results.

The Competition

There are likely two key ways to look at it as a competitor; is it bad because someone big is getting bigger, or is it good because there are less competitiors?

I can’t speak for other providers, but I see it as a positive – one less brand is one less company to compete with. More importantly, there may be BetEasy customers that start to look for a new option and we’re happy to be that alternative.

I firmly believe that punters have been a bit spoiled in recent times and that hasn’t helped the industry with extreme incentives and marketing perhaps tarnishing the industry a little as well as increasing the costs by offering inducements, money back offers, extra bonuses and so on. Now that is ingrained, it is hard to go back.

What about Sportsbetting.com.au?

We try and be different from most of the corporate bookies. We’re very open about our business model; we take runners on which means sometimes we’ll be the best odds. Sometimes that means we’ll be the worst on other runners.

We like to think we give punters a fair crack with betting limits and promotions and these days we have a wide range of promotions; Racing specials, money back races, Surge, our daily bonus.

However, we think there is a place in the market for books like us – ones that will take a position, will take a bet and stand on those positions. It typically means we have great days and bad days and not many in-between, but we think that is part of bookmaking.

It was at the end of October 2017 that new owners and management took control of Sportsbetting.com.au. From November 2017 to March 2020, our monthly turnover has increased by over 1,000%. Part of that can be attributed to our approach of taking on runners, some is because we now have a new betting app, more promotions and are generally a better product for those punters who are just having a bit of fun as well as those that take it more seriously.

We never offer a first deposit bonus and we have no intention to, but we give loads of value to our existing customers, and we think we’re among the industry leaders for that, especially with our daily bonus scheme.

We have seen huge growth, especially in the last 6 months and we continue to make major upgrades, both to our infrastructure in the background but also to the product our customers see. We’re very racing focused right now and whilst I do not expect that to significantly change, we are also looking to add to our sport product and market range… not just Nicaraguan baseball.

We have a significant new product coming soon which is going to be a great bit of extra value for customers, and I am very excited for punters to come and give us a go. We believe in a fair battle between punter and bookie, so would love to have more take us on.