he four-member Nevada Gaming Commission unanimously approved Isle of Man-based GVC Holdings Plc. for licensing last Thursday. With licensing approval, GVC joins a growing list of British sports wagering companies entering US markets.
The company’s provisional license requires the GVC to return to regulators in two years to re-assess operations. GVC is also tasked with providing the board USD 100,000 to spend on future investigations into compliance.
The licensing comes after the state Gaming Control Board suggested approval with a 2-1 vote earlier this month. Board member Terry Johnson cast the lone vote against approval and chastised CEO Kenneth Alexander for failing to supervise online gaming transactions in Turkey.
Commissioner John Moran said while a board member voting no is a red flag, he has decided to put his trust in GVC. “The test is going to see if, in fact, the trust you’re asking us to give you … if we’re going to get egg on our face,” he said, Las Vegas Review-Journal reports. “I want to see you go forward and prosper within the confines of the law.”
In March 2018, the company acquired Ladbrokes Coral Group Plc. and inherited one of its operations in Turkey, where online gambling is illegal. Eight months later, the company gave away the Turkish operation to smooth the regulatory approval process for the Ladbrokes transaction. Alexander has said the company is no longer in the market. “I fully understand and accept that along with the board, and as the CEO, I am ultimately responsible,” he said.
GVC Chairman Lee Feldman said the company has brought in third parties to investigate and ensure the company does not run into more regulatory issues. “The GVC board and management is absolutely committed first and foremost to legal and regulatory compliance,” he said. “We’ve developed first-tier regulatory and compliance approach and structure but we will not become complacent.”
With the commission’s approval, GVC joins other British sports wagering companies making their way into the US, including William Hill, Paddy Power Betfair and bet365.
GVC operates 19 brands across the globe. Last year, it entered a 50-50 joint venture with MGM Resorts International to develop Roar Digital, a new sports wagering operation. The company is licensed in New Jersey, and partnered with MGM at its Atlantic City Borgata property in poker and online gaming.