Does Bet635 have the exodus of Australia pokies sites to thank for recording first profit in 5 years?
For five long years, Bet365 has been a licenced and regulated member of Australia‘s highly restrictive online gambling market. The company has followed the rules to a T, providing Aussies with a sophisticated sportsbook and racebook, available exclusively to online and mobile punters.
In all that time, however, Bet365 never once recorded a profit. For the first five years of Australian operations, the UK betting giant was constantly in the red. They tallied up a grand total of AU $128 million in losses since entering the market in 2012.
Tides Turn for Bet365 Australia
Now, for the first time, officials with Bet365 are overjoyed to announce they’re in the black for 2017. According to accounting documents filed with the nation’s gaming regulators, the British bookmaker topped with line with a profit of $1.2 million for the first quarter of the year.
They still have a long way to go to makeup for the remaining $127 million in losses accrued. But it won’t hurt that, after taking in over $2.5 billion in wagers in Q1-17, the company is now responsible for at least 17% of the nation’s online betting intake.
It stands to question, however, why Bet365 is suddenly able to turn a profit after so many years of losses. Could it be that the company is finally solidifying its presence as a top tier operator in this highly competitive market? Or does Bet365’s success have more to do with the ongoing exodus of Australia pokies sites?
Australia Pokies Sites Fleeing the Market
Last year, the Australian government made it clear that it was no longer going to tolerate what it classified as ‘illegal‘ online gambling operations. The Interactive Gambling Act of 2001 was supposed to do that, but lack of enforcement in the language of that bill failed to do so.
The Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill of 2016 fills in all the blanks. While it hasn’t been embossed into the law books just yet, there’s no doubt it’s going to happen, likely sooner than later.
When the IGAB passes, there are two key changes that will come into effect. First, only online gambling operators licenced by Australian regulators will be permitted to accept Australian players. Second, only online sports betting and race betting operations will be eligible for licencing.
The result will be an end to nearly two decades of immensely popular Australia pokies sites and online poker rooms. Sure, there will be a few black market operators who continue to flout the law, but the vast majority will be gone. And the exodus has already begun.
It started late last year, in November of 2016. Several major brands, including 888, PartyPoker and PokerStars, indicated they would be leaving Australia if and when the IGAB went into effect.
Some acted earlier than others. Vera&John was the first to exit Australia in December, followed by 888 in January. Since then, many other Australia pokies sites have packed up operations and followed them out the door.