MGM given regulatory clearance to buy LeoVegas

MGM Resorts International has announced that it has secured all of the required regulatory and governmental approvals to proceed with its $600 million acquisition of online gambling operator LeoVegas.

MGM struck a deal in May to purchase Swedish online gaming firm LeoVegas for US$607 million in a move unanimously approved by the LeoVegas board and with the aim of expanding its online gambling offering into Europe and other markets outside the U.S.

The acceptance period for the offer expires on August 30. MGM said it expects to secure these final approvals and that the acquisition will go through on or around September 7.

MGM chief executive and president Bill Hornbuckle said at the time of the original announcement that the purchase would provide “a unique opportunity for the company to create a scaled global online gaming business”.

Speaking in an earnings call about the results, Hornbuckle hinted MGM may take further steps to expand to new territories after the LeoVegas deal. “We recognize it’s not as large scale and therefore, needle moving as we might want over time, but we thought that it was a great place to start, and most importantly, we like the platform and the team.”

With the acquisition, MGM is adding a highly visible brand in Europe and Scandinavia to its existing mobile sportsbook in the United States, BetMGM, in which MGM holds a 50 per cent.

It will also expand its presence in the nascent and potentially lucrative Ontario market, where BetMGM is already operational. LeoVegas is also registered and approved as a gaming operator in Ontario, where it offers casino, live casino, and betting under the brands LeoVegas and Royal Panda.

“[LeoVegas] is in Canada as well,” added Hornbuckle. “So it’s an open marketplace, obviously, for BetMGM, LeoVegas and our partners at Entain as well. And so we just like the exposure it gives us. It’s a learning curve for us to understand the rest of the world, and we think we’ll learn a lot from [LeoVegas].”

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