William Hill goes all in on PokerStars

William Hill, Britain’s biggest bookmaker, is in talks with Canada’s Amaya, owner of PokerStars – the world’s largest online poker business – about a £5bn “merger of equals”. The new company would be headquartered in London, with Amaya’s CEO, Rafi Ashkenazi, taking the top job.

The deal adds to “the feeding frenzy among bookies”, say Peter Evans and Daniel Dunkley in The Times, driven by “rising taxes and a crackdown on fixed-odds betting terminals”. Mergers include Paddy Power and Betfair, Ladbrokes and Gala Coral, and GVC and Bwin.party.

“The new company would have 60% of its revenues from online betting, and 40% in ‘land-based’ business,” says Murad Ahmed in the FT, making it “well diversified across different betting areas”, and bringing cost savings of more than £100m.

Still, the deal is risky, says Nils Pratley in The Guardian. PokerStars faces a lawsuit in the US state of Kentucky that comes with a potentially huge fine. And the combined firm would be too exposed to markets where gambling is either “banned or the rules are so unclear that your local operation can be legislated out of existence”.

Overall,”both these companies have bad hands, says James Moore in The Independent. “The best bet for their shareholders? Fold.”

66% off newsstand price

12 issues (and much more) for just £12

That’s right. We’ll give you 12 issues of MoneyWeek magazine, complete access to our exclusive web articles, our latest wealth building reports and videos as well as our subscriber-only email… for just £12.

That’s just £1 per week for Britain’s best-selling financial magazine.

Click here to take advantage of our offer

Britain is leaving the European Union. Donald Trump is reducing America’s role in global markets. Both will have profound consequences for you as an investor.

MoneyWeek analyses the critical issues facing British investors on a weekly basis. And, unlike other publications, we provide you with the solutions to help you turn a situation to your financial advantage.

Take up our offer today, and we’ll send you three of our most important investment reports:

All three of these reports are yours when you take up our 12 issues for £12 offer today.

MoneyWeek has been advising private British investors on what to do with their money since 2000. Our calls over that period have enabled our readers to both make and save a great deal of money – hence our position as the UK’s most-trusted investment publication.

Click here to subscribe for just £12