BetMGM Co-Owner Entain Leaving Unregulated Markets

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European gambling giant Entain announced on Jan. 18 its plan to “accelerate” its exit from unregulated international markets.

The decision won’t directly affect American gamblers, though Entain is the technology-supplying half of the BetMGM ownership team. However, Entain also serves dozens of gambling markets globally, as an operator and supplier. So the company’s announcement today that it would step up its “plans to exit a number of unregulated markets where it no longer sees a path to domestic regulation” may be impactful for many gamblers whose countries are considered gray markets by the industry.

Americans are mainly familiar with Entain’s US market-leading online casino site, BetMGM. However, Isle of Man-based Entain has a larger global footprint than BetMGM, the brand it co-owns with Las Vegas-headquartered MGM Resorts International.

Entain sites offer online casino and sports betting in Europe and Australia, including the Party, Ladbrokes and Bwin brands. Its B2B products also support operators in markets ranging from China to France. It even offers esports via Unikrn in Brazil and everywhere in Canada but Ontario.

However, even with such far-reaching operations, Entain’s earnings reports always highlight BetMGM. That may be why it feels it can drop its more legally ambiguous markets without unduly impacting its bottom line.

Entain stock (Entain PLC 1.566,00 +4,37%) remained largely unchanged by today’s news.

Entain Officially Declines Comment: 1/19/2023

Bonus reached out to Entain yesterday for this story to clarify which markets the company will be leaving.

Today, a spokesman responded.

Oliver Banks, an analyst with Dublin-based public relations agency Powerscourt Group, said on behalf of Entain:

Thanks for getting in touch, I’m afraid we can’t disclose the markets for commercial reasons.

Entain Leaving Unregulated Markets

What exactly does Entain leaving unregulated markets mean? Its press release does not mention any countries by name, and the company did not immediately respond to a request for clarification.

However, iGaming Business noted today that Brazil’s sports betting marketplace hasn’t proceeded as planned. Even its online casino launch isn’t imminent. So while Entain didn’t name that country as a prime choice to exit, its brands are doing business in a location that matches the company’s definition of a place to leave.

Entain said today:

On 12 November 2020, Entain announced a clear strategy for sustainability, growth and innovation. As part of that strategy, the Group made a commitment that, by the end of 2023, 100% of the Group’s revenue would come from markets that are nationally regulated.

From today, the Group will accelerate this process by exiting its few remaining markets where there is no clear path to market liberalisation via domestic regulation.

Barry Gibson, Entain’s non-Executive Chairman, said today:

We stated at the outset that we would exit any market that wasn’t able to regulate at sufficient pace or to the right standards, and we have acted decisively to do so. We are proud to be leading our industry as the only global operator taking this approach of solely operating in markets where there is domestic licensing.

With Entain doing business in 30 countries, a less than 12-month deadline is meaningful. Today’s announcement clarifies that Entain “will remain in only a small number of markets where it expects regulation changes will enable it to obtain domestic licenses in due course.”

Even though many businesspeople are still extending “Happy New Year” wishes to each other, some international marketplaces may now be racing the clock to regulate markets by the end of 2023.

About the Author
Heather Fletcher

Heather Fletcher

Heather Fletcher is the lead writer at Bonus, concentrating on online casino coverage. She had her first published byline at age 10, but didn't get paid for her writing until she got her first newspaper job. Fletcher's newspaper career started at Suburban News Publications in Ohio and eventually took her to The New York Times, where she's still a contract freelance reporter for the National Desk. She covers breaking news from Philadelphia, as needed. In March 2021, Fletcher began writing about online casino gambling as the lead writer for Online Poker Report.

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