Winner Group & Sportium merger sees CIRSA transform its Colombia vision 

Blackstone-owned Grupo CIRSA has reorganised its Colombian market presence, allowing its Winner Group CIRSA casino subsidiary to take control of the Sportium Colombia brand. 

The move was sanctioned as CIRSA aims to support Winner Group’s ambitions to become ‘Colombia’s leading gambling operator for land-based and online gambling disciplines’.

Established in 1997, CIRSA’s Winner Group subsidiary operates 72 gambling venues (arcades, gaming halls) across Colombia, of which 24 are land-based casino properties. 

Sportium, CIRSA’s flagship sportsbook brand, was amongst the first foreign operators to be granted a Coljuegos online gambling licence in 2017, as Colombia launched its regulated marketplace.

At the time, CIRSA could not merge the Sportium Colombia brand with its established Winner Group subsidiary, as the sportsbook unit operated as a joint-venture co-owned with Ladbrokes Plc.

In 2019, CIRSA was granted legal rights to acquire full ownership of Sportium, as Ladbrokes was forced to sell its share in the joint-venture for €70 million, as a result of its takeover by GVC Holdings – whose brands were recognised as a Spanish market competitor to Sportium infringing on the JV’s contractual terms.

“This acquisition enhances the opportunity to increase our presence on the street and continue to offer an online entertainment product with the highest quality standards,” said Patrick Sewards, Sportium Colombia Country Director. 

“Sportium also expects to grow through mergers and acquisitions of other operators. Our commitment is to Colombia, to continue contributing to the health of Colombians and to our players, who can expect new products on our platform, as well as our quality and service as always.”

The merger of Winner Group and Sportium Colombia will be supported by $10 million investment, helping its new Colombian unit amplify its existing market platform with new casino games, and a boosted live dealer offering.

Winner Group outlined its high ambitions for Sportium, which aims to be transformed into one of Colombia’s “top 5 online operators by the end of 2022”.  

“Today, building and shaping the culture focused on sports betting and online casinos are an essential part for companies like ours to expand their offer. solidly in the amusement, entertainment and leisure sector,” stated  Juan Carlos Gómez Roa, Colombia MD for Winner Group CIRSA.

“From today and thanks to this acquisition, we will expand our recognition in Colombia and further strengthen our structure, since we have operations in more than 26 cities in the country and a distribution and coverage network, having 72 entertainment centers/casinos.”

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