Although the idea has been batted around the negotiating table, the Ladbrokes merger with Gala Coral is scheduled to be finalized this week. There have been a couple of obstacles to the merger. The main one is that the laws of the UK market were in the way. The merger between the two companies would result in the company owning a sizable chunk of the betting shops in the UK. The government is strict about giving a single company that much control over the market, so they will have to be sold to other companies.
The regulators already stopped a previous merger between the two nearly 20 years ago in 1998. This time, Ladbrokes managed to push the deal through. Now, the ball is in Gala Coral’s court. If they agree, the companies will merge before the year is over. This will result in a company with the annual revenue of around £2.1 billion, making it a stronger candidate to top the UK sports betting online market.
Say in a parallel universe that the merger of Ladbrokes and Coral brings forth the acceptance of Bitcoin, how exactly will this development play out for all parties involved?
Veterans in the gambling trade
Ladbrokes and Gala Coral are recognizable names in the sports betting industry. To fully understand how the merger will affect the gambling industry, people will need some background on them.
For one, Ladbrokes is a gambling institution. It has been around since the late 1800s and was originally focused on horse racing, being agents for horses being trained at Ladbroke Hall. The company has suffered ups and downs through the years and it has managed to build itself a sterling reputation and a sizable market share.
Gala Coral, on the other hand, is not as big a presence as Ladbrokes, but it does possess a good share of the market. Established in the 1920s, the company was originally focused on betting shops and bingo locations but quickly expanded into other leisure activities like holiday camps and hotels. It is still one of the biggest leisure groups in the country.
With two new veterans in the gambling world—merging at that—Bitcoin and the Bitcoin gambling sector would be in for major surprises.
Bitcoin’s ‘hypothetical’ role in the merger
A lot of people look at this development and see the main effect it has on the sports betting industry. Even with the fact that the merged company will have to sell over 400 betting shops, the remaining ones will allow it to be competitive on the market.
There is also a sizable effect on the online side of things. Based on the average visits these sites generated in 2015, Ladbrokes is currently ranked 4th in the number of online visits it receives while Coral was 6th on the list. Experts speculate that the merger will be enough for the company to take the 3rd place, overtaking Skybet and Betfred.
This will also be potentially good news for Bitcoin sports betting. Ladbrokes has always been in pursuit of ways to gain advantage over the competition. Accepting Bitcoin would be an excellent way to do just that. William Hill, one of the top online gaming sites in competition with Ladbrokes, already accepts Bitcoin. Ladbrokes will want access to such a big market and be in direct competition with its rivals.
Moreover, with an industry leader like Ladbrokes joining William Hill in recognizing Bitcoin as a payment method, a new trend in the fiat-run online sports betting sector may rise, with the possibility of influencing other online sportsbooks to follow suit.
This, however, will come to reality only if Ladbrokes accept Bitcoin.