UK Gambling giants merge in $5.3 billion deal

In a high-stakes bet of the gambling world, online gambling giant GVC Holdings has agreed to buy rival Ladbrokes Coral in a deal. The deal could be worth $5.35 billion.

GVC, in a statement, said that it is an exciting prospect to create of one of the world’s largest listed sportsbetting companies bringing together the established brands and using proven technology and leading market positions in multiple geographies for the benefit.

The move is seen as a counter on a potential government crackdown on fixed-odds betting terminals. The government has raised concern about gambling addiction earlier. According to the report, officials could reduce the maximum bets allowed on the devices.

GVC owns and operates PartyPoker, a Bwin subsidiary which is approved in the U.S. state of New Jersey for online gambling. A recently launched MGM-branded online gambling site in the Garden State is also a GVC initiative. It is also the company behind Britain’s largest bookmaker Ladbrokes, which owns nearly 3,500 brick-and-mortar betting shops. In a deal worth more than $3 billion, it merged with former rival Gala Coral Group last year.

The merger is expected to penetrate the U.K. gambling market which is estimated $18.2 billion, according to the latest government data. The gambling yield in the region has been on the rise. The United Kingdom houses 146 brick-and-mortar casinos, 8,500 betting shops, 583 bingo parlors, and 183,000 gambling devices.

The U.S. state of New Jersey and the U.K. have been mulling over liquidity sharing for online gaming since last year. In two, the world has two of the most regulated gambling markets. Until a few years ago, the UK represented nearly 10 percent of the entire European online casino market. The number of unique online gamblers in the United Kingdom is estimated to be more than two million.

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