Former WH CEO Launches New BlueBet Sportsbook
Michael Sullivan, the former Chief Executive Officer of Sportingbet Australia up to the time when William Hill acquired the sportsbook in 2011, has announced a comeback by way of a new bookmaker called BlueBet. The dotcom site offers full service sportsbook and has headquarters at the Randwick Racecourse in Sydney.
Leading a team of well-rounded bookmaking professionals, Mr. Sullivan declared they would be offering Australian punters topnotch personalised sports betting services and options that foreign counterparts could not facilitate. BlueBet launched in time for the holding of the 2015 Melbourne Cup Carnival.
As CEO of BlueBet, Mr. Sullivan explained that UK-based bookmakers do not comprehend the kind of betting services sought by Australian punters. He recalls that when they started Sportingbet in 2002, they gave punters a unique betting experience. He conveys that through BlueBet, they will be providing Australian bettors the same kind of service whether they are betting AU$1 or AU$100,000.
Mr. Sullivan, who had parted ways with William Hill Australia in 2014, was reported early this year as having tried to raise AU$35 million capital for a new sport betting business venture to launch in time for the 2015 Spring Racing Carnival. The former Sportingbet-William Hill CEO had presented business plans to potential investors, which included the integration of Total Betting Solutions software and first year projected revenue amounting to AU$51 million, with forecast of generating twice as much in its second year.
The Australian Financial Review (AFR) reported that potential investors questioned the feasibility of the proposed business, and its ability to break-even, if based on the assumptions and business model presented to them. Some investors maintained skepticism suggesting that such a venture would require greater capital and a longer timeframe.
Financial experts at AFR believe that the bookmaking landscape in Australia today is different. Compared to the time when Mr. Sullivan made a name for himself as the leader responsible for Sportingbet's earlier success in Australia when it was established in 2002, Mr. Sullivan's startup business would be competing against foreign sportbetting giants like William Hill, Bet365, Ladbrokes, and Paddy Power, as well as with local competitors such as BetEasy. The latter is also a startup betting business formed by Matthew Tripp, the founder of Sportsbet and in partnership with Australian billionaire businessman, James Packer through Crown Resorts.
In 2011, Sportingbet had acquired Australia-listed Centrebet and in the same year agreed to the AU$660 million buyout deal offered by William Hill. Although Mr. Sullivan retained the CEO position at Sportingbet after the William Hill buyout, it was reported that Mr. Sullivan failed to meet the performance goals set by the British betting giant. Accordingly, it was part of the conditions for his continuance as Sportingbet CEO under the new ownership, for which he would have been rewarded with a AU$25 million bonus had he succeeded.
Mr. Sullivan's announcement of the BlueBet launch included his expression of support for calls for the Australian government to reign-in the airing of sport betting advertisements during live sport broadcasts. He added that even during his stint as CEO of Sportingbet, he did not consider it a good idea to bombard Australian sports viewers with betting offers, while watching their favorite sport.