Are You Entained? GVC Holdings Rebrands to Entain

November 25, 2020 3 min read
by Thomas Wolf

GVC Holdings, one of the world’s biggest gambling operators and owner of America’s BetMGM online brand and Ladbrokes Coral group across the pond in Europe, is changing its name to Entain – subject to shareholder approval.

The change, which should be finalized in the coming months, has come after a drive from new CEO, Shay Sagev.

Mr. Sagev took over from long-time group CEO Kenny Alexander in July this year, and it seems he immediately set to work putting his mark on the company.

Before he took over, GVC was valued at nearly $6 billion on the London Stock Exchange, so this is a big job for anyone.

The new CEO spoke to Forbes at length on the 12th of November. He spoke on many topics, including Entain’s US ambitions with BetMGM, his interest in the growing e-sports betting market, and his desire to cut off fringe parts of the large business that currently serve unregulated markets.

America First

Entain’s current market goal in the US is a 15-20% share within the next few years. Forty-four-year-old Israeli Mr. Sagev believes they can beat that.

“The strategy is very clear,” he told Forbes. “We want to launch in every state that opens up. We want to be first to market.”

Entain currently has a 50/50 deal with MGM Resorts across several US states. It runs online casinos and sportsbooks in states where both are legal, such as Pennsylvania and New Jersey, as well as sportsbooks in legal betting states – all under the BetMGM brand.

Together, they use MGM Resorts’ database of 13 million customers to encourage cross-platform gambling.

This is especially desirable during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has dried up a large percentage of tourist visits at MGM’s (and everyone else’s) land-based casinos in Las Vegas and elsewhere.

100% Regulated

Although it’s not an excuse, large multinational companies like GVC Holdings/Entain can easily slip into not correctly monitoring offshoot parts of their business.

This can lead to some casinos owned by larger groups continuing to serve customers from unregulated markets without key management even knowing about it.

Mr. Sagev aims to stamp this out at Entain. He’s aiming for 99% of the company’s revenue from fully legal markets by the end of this year and 100% by 2023.

The company’s shares tumbled by 12% just after Mr. Sagev took over because the UK’s taxman, Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs, announced an investigation into one of its former Turkish subsidiaries.

Clearly, that shook management up, and they’re looking to ensure that it doesn’t happen again – especially after former CEO Kenny Alexander took a grilling on the issues during a license hearing in Nevada last year.

If Entain wants to focus on the growing number of legal American markets in the future, it can’t afford any more such scandals.

New Foundations

The company also announced that it would be launching a new customer protection and problem gambling awareness initiative called the Advance Responsibility and Care program.

On top of that, it has promised to deliver $130 million to grassroots sports and problem gambling care through the new Entain Foundation.

“Under our new corporate identity, we will continue to use our unique technology platform to build on the exceptionally strong momentum that we have in our existing markets, grow into new markets, reach new audiences, enhance the customer experience, and provide industry-leading levels of player protection,”

Mr. Sagev said in a press statement.

Author

Thomas Wolf

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GVC rebrand to Entain

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