GVC Acquires Majority Stake in Leading Georgian Gambling Operator

Posted by Costin Dinescu on 4:12 AM

Casino News Daily
GVC Acquires Majority Stake in Leading Georgian Gambling Operator

Isle of Man-based online gambling operator GVC Holdings has extended its push into regulated markets with another acquisition deal. The company confirmed Monday that it would buy a majority stake in Georgian online gambling operator Crystalbet.

Under the terms of the deal, GVC would acquire a 51% stake in the business for €41 million in cash. The major operator would purchase the remaining 49% in 2021 for a maximum amount of €150 million.

The move comes as part of GVC’s strategy to reduce its presence in gray markets and extend its footprint across regulated jurisdictions and jurisdictions that are on the cusp of regulation.

Crystalbet was launched back in 2011. The operator has licenses for the provision of online sports betting, casino games, and poker in its domestic market. It generated revenue of €34 million last year and post-tax profits of €10 million. Crystalbet is currently the largest online sports betting operator in its homeland and the second-largest online gaming brand, according to GVC’s statement from Monday.

The Isle of Man-based company’s CEO, Kenneth Alexander, said Monday that they were impressed by what Crystalbet’s management team has achieved with the brand so far and that they would look to establish it as the “clear leader” in the Republic of Georgia’s regulated online gambling field.

Focus on Regulated Markets

It was last year when GVC announced that it would look to minimize its presence across unregulated markets. It then disposed of its Turkish operations to affirm its commitment to regulated jurisdictions.

The Isle of Man-based group’s revenue from gray markets accounted for 30% of its overall revenue last year. Other major gambling operators, including Paddy Power, withdrew from unregulated jurisdictions years ago, deeming those too risky to operate in.

GVC is also in the middle of another acquisition deal. Last year, the company agreed to buy British bookmaker Ladbrokes Coral in a deal that could be valued at up to £4 billion, depending on the outcome of the UK government’s review into the highly controversial fixed-odds betting machines.

Ladbrokes Coral, which was formed in 2016 through the acquisition of Ladbrokes and Coral, was approached by GVC on several occasions, but it was only late in 2017 that the major operator agreed on a deal.

The bookmaker is the largest operator of betting shops across the UK and the looming crackdown on FOBTs that could see the maximum stake on those be cut to £2 from £100 would hit its profitability significantly. By partnering a company with strong presence in the digital sector of the gambling industry, Ladbrokes Coral would look to offset the losses incurred by the pending regulatory changes.

The takeover is subject to review by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority and is expected to be closed later in 2018, thus creating one of the global gambling industry’s powerhouses.

The post GVC Acquires Majority Stake in Leading Georgian Gambling Operator appeared first on Casino News Daily.