Durrant Pate – Jamaica Observer – February 12, 2020
The Fair Trading Commission (FTC), Jamaica’s competition regulator, has cleared regional gaming company Supreme Ventures’ acquisition of Post to Post Betting Limited, citing minimal effect on competition in the racehorse, betting and gaming business.
This follows an investigation by the competition regulator of the implication of the acquisition last year by Supreme Ventures of majority shares in Post to Post Betting, a Jamaican company that offers gaming products including sports betting and horse racing to the Jamaican market under the Post to Post and ANYBET brands.
NO NEGATIVE EFFECT ON COMPETITION
The FTC reports that it has completed its investigation into the acquisition and concluded that “the acquisition agreements are unlikely to have the effect of a substantial lessening of competition in the bookmaking services market. Essentially, the agreements are not in breach of Section 17 of the Fair Competition Act (FCA)”.
Following media reports of the acquisition the FTC opened the investigation under Section 17 of the FCA — which applies to agreements which have as their purpose, effect or likely effect the substantial lessening of competition in a market. The effect of the agreements on competition was assessed in three markets: (i) betting services on sports events and virtual games (ii) betting services on simulcast horse racing (iii) betting on services on local horse racing.
While the FTC had no competition concerns regarding the first two markets, for the third market the FTC had concerns about the potential for the discriminatory imposition of rights fees by Supreme Ventures in favour of Post to Post, and against competing players in the market. The FTC is, however, satisfied that sector regulator the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission has the power to avert any such discriminatory conduct.
NO HASTE TO ACQUIRE MORE SHARES
In light of the ruling, Supreme Ventures has indicated that it intends to acquire additional shares in Post to Post Betting. However, there will be no haste in securing these additional shares as this will be done sometime during the course of this year.
In announcing the acquisition in June last year, Supreme Ventures said Post to Post will continue to operate as a stand-alone commercial business promoting their brands and products. Post to Post currently operates 35 shops islandwide. The original Post to Post shareholders will retain 49 per cent ownership of the company, giving Supreme Ventures the majority shareholding in Post to Post of 51 per cent.
Supreme Ventures reported that the acquisition is aligned with its growth strategy, which has seen the company not only expanding in the Jamaican horse racing and mobile gaming market but also into the region with iBET Supreme in Guyana. Supreme Ventures President & CEO Ann-Dawn Young Sang pointed out that the new subsidiary will enable the regional gaming company to better serve various segments of the gaming market and allow the introduction of innovative products to a wider cross section of customers.