Sportsbet Halts CrownBet’s Rebranding Plan

Tia Winter | 18 July 2018

Australian sportsbook operator Sportsbet has reportedly succeeded in its attempts to block competitor CrownBet’s planned rebranding period. The news has come after the Federal Court of the nation issued an injunction order last week, ordering CrownBet to cease its plans, according to a report from the Sydney Morning Herald.

Earlier this year, Canadian gambling behemoth The Stars Group purchased a hefty 80% stake in CrownBet. At the same time, the Aussie operator itself purchased William Hill’s struggling local business, beating Sportsbet to the deal amid a competitive bidding tender. Sportsbet is the Australian subsidiary of Irish betting giant Paddy Power Betfair, and is Australia’s second-largest bookmaker to Tabcorp.

CrownBet Seeks Name Change

William Hill joined countless other Aussie market operators back in 2013 when purchasing Sportingbet, Centerbet and Tom Waterhouse in a deal worth $459.4 billion. The British bookie never did manage to boost the performances of any of those three brands, which it later combined under the singular William Hill Australia brand. This year, the company announced that it was considering their sale.

The local operations of bookmakers Ladbrokes, bet365, Paddy Power Betfair and CrownBet were pinned as the four main bidders for William Hill’s ailing operations. Eventually, it was CrownBet that beat the other three companies in the final round of bidding, gaining full control over William Hill Australia and all of its daughter brands.

In May, reports also came to light that CrownBet was mulling the possibility of rebranding as Sportingbet in order to distance itself from its previous majority stakeholder, local casino operator Crown Resorts. The company reportedly also wished to celebrate the fact that Sportingbet, the firm that was originally owned by current CrownBet CEO Matt Tripp, was once again part of its family.

Concerns About Confusing Punters

It was in June that CrownBet filed a Change of Company Name Reservation with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission in an attempt to trademark the Sportingbet Pty Ltd brand name. This move was a clear sign of the company’s plans to rebrand, but shortly thereafter, Sportsbet went to the Federal Court in an attempt to bar its rival operator from carrying through with the plan.

Paddy Power Betfair argued in court that Sportingbet and Sportsbet are very similar in name, which could ‘mislead or deceive’ bettors. On Wednesday, the court finally sided with Sportsbet, with the company noting to local media that the court shared its concerns for customers being potentially mislead, or thinking that the two bookies were the same gambling entity. It is yet to be seen if CrownBet will contest this ruling or choose another name for its Australian business.

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