Entain makes big Canadian play with $300m Avid Gaming purchase

Entain announced in a press release Monday on February 7 that it has purchased Avid Gaming, owners of the Canadian operator Sports Interaction, from Middlebrook Investments for $300 million.

Founded in 1997, Sports Interaction is currently the official sports betting partner of the National Lacrosse League in Canada and previously had partnerships with a number of CFL teams, including the Ottawa Redblacks and Edmonton Elks.

The CEO of Avid Gaming, Will Golby, and other members of the executive team will transition to Entain, which already owns 50 per cent of BetMGM with MGM as well as Canadian brands bwin and Party.

Jette Nygaard-Andersen, CEO of Entain, called Sports Interaction the leading Canadian sports betting and gaming brand and said it is “is aligned perfectly with our own ambitions of great customer service and ambitious growth, coupled with an unwavering commitment to sustainability.” Nygaard-Andersen added that Sports Interaction is “highly complementary to our existing operations in Canada”.

It is operated by Mohawk Online, which is wholly owned by the Mohawk Council of Kahnawá:ke and is regulated and licensed by the Kahnawá:ke Gaming Commission in Quebec. Mohawk Online revenue is invested back into the indigenous community of Kahnawá:ke to provide essential funding for cultural and language programmes, schools, healthcare, and other public services. Roughly 50 per cent of Avid Gaming employees in Kahnawá:ke are Mohawk.

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

As the Ontario regulated market players begin to emerge, it remains to be seen whether Sports Interaction will receive licensing through the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO). In the release, Entain called Canada a “highly attractive, fast-growing sports betting and gaming market”.

The acquisition is expected to deliver approximately $15 million in synergies for Entain in 2023 through sharing technology, content, and procurement efforts.

Meanwhile, Entain has also announced that it has joined an alliance of gaming and technology companies calling for higher standards and safeguards to better protect people who enjoy gaming. The Global Gaming Alliance, which also includes DraftKings, is a new forum seeking to address shared responsible gaming and player protection challenges in the rapidly-evolving global gaming industry.

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