Entain, Co-Owner of BetMGM, Announces Acquisition of Avid Gaming, Owner of Sports Interaction
US Sports Betting Industry Expert
Entain is making big moves when it comes to trying to get a hold in the Canadian market. Entain has recently announced that it has acquired Avid Gaming. Avid Gaming owns Sports Interaction, which is a major player in the Canadian sports betting market.
Avid Gaming acquired Sports Interaction, the key operator in Canada sports betting, for a price of CAD $300 million. The CEO of Entain, Jette Nygaard-Andersen, has indicated that the company feels the acquisition will be complementary to the company’s vision for Canada and its existing operations. The company is looking to combine the local expertise of Sports Interaction with Entain’s existing platform to provide customers a unique experience.
Avid Gaming has licensed the services of Sports Interaction to the Mohawk Council of Kahnawàke and Mohawk Online. However, Sports Interaction in Canada is operated by Mohawk Online under the Kahnawàke Gaming Commission in the gray market. The gray market has continued to operate in the Canadian sports betting landscape while the commercial market struggles to launch in the country.
Currently, it is able to participate in online sports betting and iGaming without approval from provincial regulators. The Kahnawàke have stated that Sports Interaction will continue to operate under the Kahnawàke Gaming Commission as Entain applies for a license for Ontario sports betting under the name of its other brands.
Grand Chief Kahsennenhawe Sky-Deer discussed that the Kahnawàke have had to work really hard to obtain what they have. He says the Kahnawàke have one of the most well respected and established jurisdictions from around the globe, and this is why Entain has chosen to create a close working relationship with them. But, the Kahnawàke still struggles to find recognition in Canada.
The Kahnawàke are still battling for a carve-out for First Nations in the C-218 legislation for Canadian gaming. The same is true for the conduct and manage iGaming model in Ontario. The Kahnawàke do not want to get shut out of the gaming industry as it grows in Canada.
In 2021, the gross revenue from Sports Interaction rose 40% to CAD $76 million.
Entain feels this recent acquisition will be a big boon to their local expertise in Canada. The CEO of Avid Gaming, Will Golby, as well as other employees will be joining Entain after this acquisition. Entain has high expectations for this deal.
The company expects by 2023 to deliver synergies in the amount of around CAD $15 million. The National Lacrosse League and four teams in the Canadian Football League have official partnerships with Sports Interaction in Canada already.
Golby talked about the different approach Entain has taken when it comes to local markets in comparison to other large sports betting operators. He touted the localized approach the company has taken which offers customizations specifically to each area.
As of now, Entain is still working toward gaining an Ontario sports betting online gaming license. In Canada, Entain’s bwin and Party brands will now be joined by Sports Interaction. Canada has a highly competitive and attractive market that many operators are looking to sink their claws in.
Entain currently owns major online sports betting player BetMGM jointly with MGM Resorts. The company has plans to enter the Ontario sports betting market. This new acquisition by Entain could influence BetMGM’s future in the Canadian sports betting market.
BetMGM has previously had a focus only on the United States sports betting market. But, this will not be helpful when it comes to trying to grow outside of the United States. However, the head of communications and public relations for BetMGM, Elisa Richardson, feels the company has a good strategy for moving in the Canadian sports betting market.
She indicated that the company is working toward a launch of BetMGM into the Ontario sports betting market once it is able to. The commercial sports betting market in Ontario is set to launch on April 4th of this year. Soon after that announcement, both theScore Bet and PointsBet announced that they had received Ontario sports betting licenses from regulators in the province.
However, there are many major sportsbook operators who are interested in moving in to the Canadian sports betting market. After the legalization nationwide of single-game betting in August 2021, the power was given to the provinces to regulate their own sports betting markets.
Regulators in Alberta released an RFP for two retail sportsbook operators. This has the potential in the future to include the online space too. Meanwhile, the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority is also looking to have online sports betting launched by this coming summer.
Written by Allie Nelson, our US Sports Betting Industry Expert. You can learn more about our author's expertise here.
The featured image for this post is a promotional graphic provided by Entain.