Ladbrokes plans ad blitz as William Hill axes brands

By Rosie Baker | 5 September 2013

Ladbrokes, the UK betting brand is preparing a marketing blitz to support its entry to the Australian market as rival William Hill announces plans to axe its Sportingbet and Centrebet brands.

Ladbrokes will launch a marketing campaign positioning itself as a “ fun and modern betting brand” to coincide with the start of the Spring Racing Carnival in September which includes a 65-day racing programme throughout the state of Victoria, and ending November after the 2013 Melbourne Cup.

The brand’s local site, Ladbrokes.com.au, launches today (5 September) offering up to $250 to new members and suing the strapline “Bet Better Australia”. It claims its betting options such as “Pick Your Own Odds”, “Fixed Price Exotics” and “QuickBet” will help it stand out from the competition.

The launch follows the $22.5m acquisition of Brisbane based online betting business Bookmaker.com.au and sports marketing firm Panda Gaming.

The brand’s entry to the Australian market comes as rival William Hill's CEO Ralph Topping told the Australian Financial Review the UK group plans to axe its Sportingbet and Centrebet brands in Australia. William Hill acquired Sportingbet and Centrebet in march alongside the Tom Waterhouse bookmaking firm.

The Tom Waterhouse brand is set to be dissolved in 2015.

William Hill will focus on the parent brand, which Topping says is the strongest in the portfolio and will reduce confusion in the market between similarly named rivals.

The gambling sector has been one of the biggest spending in terms of advertising as rivals pitted themselves against each other and vyed to stand out. Consolidation, alongside new regulations could lead to a reduction in ad spending.

The gambling industry has been embroiled in controversy in the last year over the blurring of lines between the way live betting odds, advertising and broadcast content were presented. Tom Waterhouse was at the centre of the issue and it lead to an overhaul of regulations for betting firms and the banning of live odds being broadcast during broadcast sport. 

Richard Glynn, Ladbrokes' chief executive officer, says: "The acquisition of this fast growing business represents an excellent opportunity for Ladbrokes to establish a strong presence in Australia, in line with our strategy to extend geographic reach to key regulated markets. At launch Ladbrokes Australia will have a highly experienced management team who are strongly incentive to achieve further customer and revenue growth over the coming years."

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