Betfred Strives to Become SA’s Leading Bookmaker After Acquiring Betting World

South Africa is a sports-mad nation, which explains why one of the fastest growing markets in the nation is online sports betting.

Online sportsbooks are the only form of legal online gambling under current South African law (despite the fact that millions of local gamblers play casino games at safe, regulated, SA-facing offshore online casinos).

As such, it comes as no surprise that many sportsbook operators from around the world are eyeing this growing industry with interest, and some have made a move into this sphere.

One of these is the private UK based bookmaker, Betfred which turns over tens of billions each year.

Betfred is intent on becoming one of the country’s leading bookmakers, after completing a deal to acquire Betting World ( from the South African Phumelela Gaming and Leisure.

About the Betting World Purchase

It was announced earlier this year that Betfred paid around R120 million to acquire Phumelela’s online sports betting arm, Betting World.  This price is subject to final adjustment.

At the time of closing the deal, the chief commercial officer at Betfred, Phil Siers commented on the purchase.

“We are delighted to see the Betfred International service extended to South Africa, and look forward to becoming a leading South African bookmaker and providing a world class service to all our new customers,” he said.

“The last 12 months have been difficult for all businesses, but Betfred is excited about the future of Betting World and intends to make a major investment in Africa over the coming years”.

Betfred is currently in the process of fulfilling all regulatory requirements as governed by South Africa’s gambling authorities, especially those that pertain to the transfer of shareholdings in the company.

By doing so, Betfred has positioned themselves as a strong player in South African gambling market.

Betfred Showed Previous Interest in Purchasing Phumelela in its Entirety

Last year, the South African racing operator, Phumelela suspended its trade on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. The country’s racing industry, like all over the world, was struck badly by the coronavirus. Phumelela filed for bankruptcy protection and agreed to delist from the JSE. It also agreed to break up the business to repay its creditors.

This is the stage where Betfred first saw an opportunity and stepped in.

The group offered creditors R925 million to purchase the beleaguered company – an offer that served as an alternative to Phumelela’s business rescue plan which would have seen it sell its horse racing business and additional assets to one of its main stakeholders, Marry Oppenheimer Daughters (MOD)

Creditors rejected Betfred’s offer and accepted the offer made by MOD.

There was an initial suggestion that MOD would continue to trade Betting World, but that plan was soon laid to rest. Instead, Betfred offered to purchase just the online sports betting brand. The deal has been hailed as a transformative one for sports betting in South Africa. It will break into and expand a current landscape that is dominated by domestic companies.

Companies such as World Sports Betting and HollywoodBets may not take Betfred’s entry into the market lying down.

Analysts believe that players will benefit from lucrative special offers to introduce them to the Betfred brand, and rival sportsbooks will have no choice but to respond with better offers in order to keep their players happy.

Betfred as a Successful Sportsbook

Betfred’s entry into the South African sports betting market has been welcomed by business analysts, which believes that it will bring world-class options to local punters.

Betfred is owned by the 80-year-old British billionaire, Fred Done, who opened his first betting shop in the UK in 1967. The brand now operates over 1,600 retail betting stores across the UK.

The company’s turnover continues to go from strength to strength, reporting nearly R200,000,000,000 in 2018/2019.

Betting World won’t be Betfred’s first foray into the world of online betting, with the company operating an online casino in Spain.

Betfred is one of the largest sponsors of horse racing in the UK, and it may go on to adopt a similar policy in South Africa. The brand sponsors race such as the Dante Stakes, the Midlands National and the Cesarewitch Handicap.

The group has also sponsored the British Super League, the World Snook Championships and served as the official betting partner of Manchester United football club from 2006 to 2013.

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