Entain’s acquisition of Swedish iGaming operator Enlabs AB and Portuguese online sportsbook Bet.pt has driven a 30% expansion in its international operations.
A leading operator in the Baltic region, the Enlabs acquisition has enabled Entain to enter this market for the first time in its operating history via the Optibet brand.
Enlabs is a market leader in Latvia, the second largest operator in Estonia and ‘among the top five in Lithuania’, in addition to maintaining a presence in numerous other Baltic states, consistently delivering growth in its core markets.
The acquisition received ‘unconditional’ approval from a unanimous 94% of Enlabs shareholders on 22 March, following the confirmation of regulatory approval on 9 March. The transaction was completed on 30 March, at a purchasing price of SEK 53 per share.
Meanwhile, Bet.pt is one of the key players in the Portuguese online gaming space, with a predicted growth rate of 70% by 2023, amounting to around €580 million.
The takeover represents a significant enhancement of Entain’s operations in the Iberian peninsula, initially spearheaded by its status in the Spanish market via Bwin.
“These new acquisitions are in line with our strategy to expand into new locally regulated markets” said Rob Wood, CFO & Deputy Chief Executive of Entain. “We are committed to operating only in countries which are either already fully regulated or in the process of regulating and will continue to look for opportunities to expand our business internationally.”
He continued: “Portugal and the Baltic region represent highly attractive, locally regulated and fast-growing gaming markets. Both these acquisitions further deliver on our growth strategy of expanding across fast-growing international markets.”
The acquisitions represent a continuation of Entain’s commitment to only conduct business in countries with established regulatory frameworks that allow sports-betting and gaming, or are in the process of implementing regulations.
Of the company’s total revenues, 99% come from fully regulated and regulating markets – a total of 27 following the integration of Enlabs and Bet.pt as well as launches in Germany and Colombia – whilst the group aims to ensure 100% of its operations come from these verticals by the culmination of the 2023 trading year.
Other notable sectors where Entain has established a foothold include Germany and Colombia, and the Group ‘expects to increase further the number of regulated markets in which it operates through a combination of positive regulatory developments in certain jurisdictions’.
Jurisdictions targeted for entry include Canada, whilst the Group is also eyeing up a strengthening of its Latin American and Central and Eastern European operations.
International expansion was touted as the one of the core factors behind the company’s comeback against COVID-19 headwinds in 2020 – along with an uptake in online wagering – with the latest trading report recording increases in revenue, profits and EBITDA.
Jette Nygaard-Andersen, CEO of Entain, remarked at the time: “We are a digital entertainment company with a clear strategic focus on growth and sustainability.
“As such, we have a fantastic platform from which to use our proprietary technology to expand into new markets and reach new audiences around the world.”