Casino operator Crown Resorts Ltd. is poised to increase its ownership of Betfair's Australian operations from 50% to 100%, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. The move would give Crown complete control of Betfair's Tasmanian bookmaking license.
Betfair currently operates in Australia as a joint venture between Crown Resorts and Betfair's London-based parent company. Sources have told Fairfax Media that Betfair is looking to sell off its share of the Australian company because it has been less profitable than hoped.
Crown Resorts is controlled by billionaire James Packer, who is the company’s chairman and Australia’s second-richest individual with a $6.6 billion net worth according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Packer is reportedly interested in grabbing a major stake in the billion-dollar sports-betting market, and a 100% stake would give Crown the power to change Betfair's business model in the sector.
Crown Resorts and Betfair have declined to comment on the potential deal.
Crown Resorts, which has resorts in Melbourne and Perth, was recently granted final approval to develop a casino in Sydney. Crown's Melbourne casino property hosts the southern hemisphere’s largest poker tournament series — the Aussie Millions Poker Championship --each year.