MGM Still Plans to Buy iGaming Competitor LeoVegas, Despite Its Legal Issues

MGM Resorts International says it still plans to buy online casino and sports betting company LeoVegas Group, despite the latter’s legal troubles. Las Vegas-based MGM has been seeking to acquire LeoVegas for $607 million in order to establish an international online gambling presence.

The land-based gambling giant’s leaders said so repeatedly during the gambling organization’s Q2 2022 earnings call held on Aug. 3.

MGM President and CEO Bill Hornbuckle said on Aug. 3, according to a Motley Fool transcript:

LeoVegas has a talented management team, a cloud and mobile-based technology platform, and an appreciable growth plan that we’ll execute on as we develop our digital gaming presence in Europe.

Jonathan Halkyard, MGM’s CFO, added:

We invested in our international digital future with the announced LeoVegas transaction.

LeoVegas Legal Troubles

The same day MGM announced its Q2 2022 results, news emerged from the UK Gambling Commission that the body will fine LeoVegas £1.32 million “for social responsibility and anti-money laundering failures.”

As dire as that headline sounds, Sweden-based LeoVegas hasn’t made a public statement about this latest legal issue. Instead, the group’s most recent announcement is about its Q2 2022 results presentation on Thursday.

Next to that “save the date” notice is LeoVegas Group’s June 7 statement about the Swedish Economic Crime Authority looking into allegations of insider trading. Those allegations are related to MGM’s May 2 declaration that it planned to purchase LeoVegas. The authority also didn’t have updates on the case on its site today.

Still, MGM’s records show it made an offer on June 2, and LeoVegas Group has until Aug. 30 to accept it. If the latter does so, the acquisition may be final on Sept. 7.

What MGM Gains With LeoVegas

LeoVegas Group owns the LeoVegas and Royal Panda iGaming sites. Both are active in Ontario, where MGM’s jointly owned brand, BetMGM, competes for online casino, online poker, and online sportsbook gamblers.

However, beyond Ontario‘s iGaming market, the brands diverge. BetMGM, co-owned by MGM and Entain, is the No. 1 US online casino operator. LeoVegas doesn’t have a US presence.

LeoVegas does have an international iGaming footprint, which Hornbuckle highlighted has “licenses in eight jurisdictions, primarily in the Nordics.”

The group’s iGaming brands include:

  • Royal Panda
  • GoGoCasino
  • LiveCasino
  • Bet UK
  • Pink Casino
  • Slot Boss
  • Expekt

That’s what MGM is hoping to gain.

Hornbuckle said:

We recognize it’s not as large scale and, therefore, needle moving as we might want over time. But we thought it was a great place to start. And most importantly, we like the platform and the players — I mean, the team. And so that’s — in essence, that’s it. And we think over time — it’s in Canada, as well.

So it’s an open marketplace, obviously, for BetMGM, LeoVegas, and our partners at Entain, as well. And so we just like the exposure it gives us. It’s a learning curve for us to understand [the] rest of [the] world, and we think we’ll learn a lot from these guys.

LeoVegas has also “dabbled” in live dealer products for online casino gamblers, which MGM will also want to add to its international iGaming offerings, Hornbuckle said.

He concluded, according to the Motley Fool transcript:

We’ll watch for other opportunities in digital, either through our LeoVegas vehicle or anything else that potentially comes up, that could be meaningful for either strategic or basically broader economic reasons.

So it sounds like MGM remains committed to the LeoVegas acquisition.

About the Author

Heather Fletcher

Heather Fletcher

Heather Fletcher is Lead Writer at Bonus, concentrating on online casino coverage. She specializes in breaking news, legislative coverage, and gambling marketing strategy overviews. To reach Heather with a news tip, email [email protected].
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