Avid Gaming changes owner

Entain acquires Canada's online betting operator Sports Interaction ahead of Ontario's launch

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Entain announced on Monday that it has acquired Deis Ltd (Avid Gaming) for CAD300 million (US$ 236,61 million) from Middlebrook Investments Limited. Avid Gaming owns Sports Interaction and is headquartered in Jersey (Channel Islands), with offices in the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawà:ke and Ireland.

Avid Gaming exclusively licenses the Sports Interaction trademark and provides proprietary online betting and gaming products and services to Canada's tribe Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke (MCK) and the Mohawk Online socio-economic initiative. Mohawk Online, which is wholly owned by the MCK, operates Sports Interaction in Canada.

“Together with Entain’s application for an Ontario license, this acquisition provides an excellent opportunity to drive further growth, in line with the group’s growth and sustainability strategy,” said the company.

Sports Interaction’s sports-led offering is highly complementary to Entain’s existing Canadian business, comprising the Party and bwin brands. The combination will bring Entain’s global scale, expertise, and platform together with Sports Interaction’s local expertise, capabilities, and partnerships. As a result, the combined business will provide customers with a broader offering of engaging products and services for the Canadian market. Will Golby, Avid Gaming’s CEO, along with other members of the leadership team, will transition to Entain.

The group will continue supporting the socioeconomic efforts of the Mohawks of Kahnawà:ke through Sports Interaction’s exclusive relationship with Mohawk Online. In line with economic principles adopted by Canada under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Mohawk Online revenues are invested back into the community of Kahnawà:ke to provide essential funding for cultural and language programs, schools, healthcare, and other public services. 50% of Avid Gaming employees in Kahnawà:ke are Mohawk, and in 2020 Mohawk Online revenues played a vital role in Kahnawà:ke’s Covid 19 relief efforts.

Sports Interaction has experienced rapid growth in recent years with gross revenues in 2021 increasing by 40% year on year to CAD 76 million (US$ 59,9 million).  The business generated EBITDA of CAD 18 million (US$ 14,19 million) and profits before tax of CAD 17.4 million (US$ 17,7 million) in the year ended 31 December 2021 (after the contribution to the community of Kahnawà:ke).  As of 30 September 2021, it had gross assets of approximately CAD 41.0 million (US$ 32,41 million).

The combination is expected to deliver approximately CAD 15 million (US$ 11,8 million) of synergies in 2023, predominantly from technology, content, and procurement benefits. This results in a post synergies acquisition multiple for Entain of approximately 7x 2023 EBITDA. The consideration for the acquisition has been paid from existing facilities.

Jette Nygaard-Andersen, CEO of Entain plc, commented: “Sports Interaction is the leading Canadian sports betting and gaming brand and is aligned perfectly with our own ambitions of great customer service and ambitious growth, coupled with an unwavering commitment to sustainability. It is highly complementary to our existing operations in Canada, and the combination of its local expertise and Entain’s powerful platform will provide customers with an unrivaled range of exciting and engaging products in this fast-growing market. We look forward to welcoming Will Golby and his team to Entain.

Jette Nygaard-Andersen, CEO of Entain.

“Investing in the communities where we operate is a key pillar of Entain’s sustainability strategy. We are therefore delighted to be supporting the Mohawk Online socio-economic initiative,” she concluded.

Will Golby, CEO of Avid Gaming, said: “We are delighted to be joining forces with Entain, which is an exceptional company combining world-class brands, strong leadership, and a winning strategy. It has a unique approach to local markets, and no other company of its scale consistently delivers so many well-executed, localized approaches to the same level of customization and detail. Entain’s commitment to sustainability, responsible gaming, and community investment aligns exactly with our own business philosophy, and we look forward to a bright future together.”

Kahsennenhawe Sky-Deer, Grand Chief of Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke, added: “Entain is a world-class operator with a genuine desire to positively contribute to the communities in which it operates. Kahnawà:ke is well known in the gaming industry, not only for our internationally recognized jurisdiction through the Kahnawà:ke Gaming Commission but also for our socio-economic initiative, Mohawk Online. This new partnership between Entain and the Mohawks of Kahnawà:ke is mutually beneficial, and brings with it a prime opportunity for bolstering our self-sufficiency through the continuing success of Sports Interaction.”

The acquisition comes after iGaming Ontario's recent announcement that the Canadian province's new online gaming market will launch April 4, as its joint efforts with the Government of the province and AGCO seek to establish a new online gaming market that will help protect consumers and provide more choice. 

Private gaming operators registered with the AGCO that have executed an operating agreement with iGO can begin offering their games to players in Ontario as from the launching date. Companies will operate gaming sites in the market on behalf of the province in accordance with these agreements. 

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