The world of online gambling has become increasingly competitive over the past few years. With more and more countries regulating Internet gambling, companies are scrambling to merge in the hopes of dominating the market.

The latest attempt at a takeover comes from Sportingbet. The UK online gaming company is in negotiations to but Centrebet, Australia’s biggest online bookmaker. The latest price that has been reported is $175 million. The move would give Sportingbet a leg up in the Australian market.

Companies from all over the world are making moves to position themselves to move into the US Internet gambling market in the future. The US is considered the most lucrative market in the world, but as of yet lawmakers have not ended the online gambling prohibition they have in place.

That prohibition could come to an end as early as later this year. Representative Joe Barton has introduced a bill late last week that would regulate online poker. If the bill passes, it is unlikely Sportingbet would be able to gain a license in the US.

One area of online gambling that will remain illegal in the US even if the Barton bill passes is sports betting. being that a large portion of Sportingbet’s operation involves online sports wagering, US regulators would likely deny any attempt of the company to gain a license.

The Australian market, however, is another story. In Australia, online sports betting is big business. Centrebet has cornered the market in Australia, becoming the first company to be permitted to offer sports betting. It also was the first bookmaker to go online in the Southern hemisphere.

Paddy Power is a main competitor to Sportingbet, and they have already started operating in Australia. If Sportingbet can finish off the acquisition of Centrebet, it would open the door for the company to gain control in the market.