Hills paid approximately £242 million to acquire MRG back in January, a move that has since been approved by all the relevant competition authorities. As of now, William Hill is in control of 98.5% of MRG Group’s shares and is in the position to initiate the compulsory acquisition of the rest of the shares.
The move follows October’s announcement from the London-listed betting and gaming operator that declared their intention to submit an offer for the 12-year-old Scandinavian online casino group and their subsidiary Evoke Gaming which also includes the Redbet brand.
The move will help William Hill, who were established in Leeds, England in 1939, move into the Swedish market and it is the RedBet brand that will be the focus of their attention.
Redbet is run by the Evoke Gaming Limited, which were themselves acquired by Mr Green and Company AB (legacy MRG) for €7 million in 2017. Now, the small online bookmaker will be rebranded as WilliamHill.se in order to rapidly allow Hills to gain access to the reregulated Swedish market before becoming the face of the brand’s approach there.
Kambi To Provide The Sportsbook
Rather than rely on their own sportsbook software, William Hill will utilise MRG’s tie-in with another Swedish gaming operator, Kambi, who already provide sportsbook solutions for the likes of 888 sport, Casumo and Unibet.
Since 2016, Kambi, who have posted record breaking financial margins for the quarter of 2019, has powered Mr Green’s and Redbet’s sports betting offering and will continue to do so.
Kambi’s sportsbook will also include William Hill’s Bet Builder feature in its Swedish output, as well as offering slots and table games, which will include live casino, Vegas Speed Roulette, Monopoly Live and Lightning Roulette. Betting opportunities with William Hill Sweden will include Swedish specialities such as trotting, ice hockey, bandy and other winter sports.
William Hill’s International MD, Patrick Jonker said about the move, “This is an important milestone in William Hill’s international journey. Through fantastic teamwork between our teams in Malta, UK and Sweden we have released William Hill’s first new locally licensed offering since 2011.”
Less UK reliance
When the intended deal was announced in October last year, Hills cited a variety of reasons as to why it was seeking to branch out from a heavily UK reliant operational business. Chief among these were the UK government’s decision to introduce a 6% increase on the 15% remote gambling duty paid by locally licensed companies as well as an overly saturated and competitive market place.
There is also the problematic issue of an already delayed Brexit and this takeover provides the major British gambling company with a ready made base within the European Union thanks to MRG being headquartered in Malta as opposed to William Hill’s current HQ which is based in Gibraltar.
As well as the UK and Ireland, MRG holds remote gambling licences in Denmark, Italy, Latvia, Malta and Sweden which is why Hills believe it will provide them with market entry, expertise and growth momentum within those jurisdictions.
Sweden, though, has experienced renewed regulations recently and now the government is weighing up a complete ban on online gambling advertising in the country with further advertising restrictions promised by October 1 next year.