UK’s William Hill Looking to Merge with Canada’s Amaya

William Hill Amaya merger.

William Hill and Amaya could become the largest betting operator in the business if £5 billion merger goes through. (Image: Glassdoor.co.uk)

William Hill, one of the UK’s largest bookmakers, is reportedly looking to complete a merger with Canada’s Amaya.

Although news of the deal only came to light at the start of October, sources close to the negotiations have stated that talks got underway back in February.

That timeframe means William Hill was already sizing up a deal with Amaya long before 888 and Rank made a joint offer for the company.

A Multi-Billion Dollar Deal

At this stage the finer points of the potential merger are unclear, but market analysts have suggested that a newly formed entity would be worth in excess of £5 billion.

For William Hill, the benefits of merging with the largest player in the online betting world are clear. Amaya not only has a strong foothold in the poker world thanks to its ownership of PokerStars and Full Tilt, but it also now has a relationship with iGaming regulators in New Jersey.

While Amaya currently has dominant positions in poker and casino gaming, sports betting could do with some work. Fortunately, William Hill is by far the largest bookmaker in the UK with a market share equal to 25 percent. This market position is something Amaya would certainly be looking to exploit if the two parties can agree on a mutually beneficial deal.

Government to Restrict Gambling Ads

In other UK gambling news this week, adverts promoting betting sites may soon be banned from daytime TV. Following the Gambling Commission’s recent report that instances of problem gambling among 18-to24-year-olds have increased by 1.5 percent in the last three years, the government is now analysing the impact of ads.

According to a report by The Times, ministers are concerned that betting ads shown before the 9pm watershed are influencing minors and driving up instances of problem gambling.

“As it stands, betting sites can basically be advertising to children all weekend,” an unnamed government source told The Times.

If the government insists on a blanket ban on gambling ads during the day, it could cause a major backlash from TV bosses and betting operators. Gambling ads offer a significant amount of revenue for channels and a law to restrict them would obviously be met with a certain amount of resistance.

Indeed, some of the most common betting ads shown during the day involve bingo. Now inextricably linked to talk shows like Jeremy Kyle, online bingo has become a major part of daytime TV schedules and the government may have a tough time changing that in the near future.

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