Sports Interaction is a top Canadian sports betting brand, and part of Deis Ltd (Avid Gaming). But it's now under new ownership, due to a significant acquisition in the world of i-Gaming.
Global betting giant Entain PLC's purchase of Deis Ltd (also known as Avid Gaming) means that Sports Interaction's ownership has transferred from Middlebrook Investments Limited to Entain. The purchase price of the Deis Ltd move cost Entain PLC CAD 300m, which equates to approximately £174m.
The thawing of a hitherto chilly approach to sports betting in Canada, driven in part by the opening up of various US states to single event betting, has made the prospects of the market in the northern nation rather warmer, thus prompting the financial move by Entain PLC. The acquisition of Deis Ltd puts into Entain's hands the Sports Interaction trademark and the online betting/gaming products and services provided to the MCK (Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke).
In terms of a geographical footprint, Entain is already enormous, and the acquisition by Entain PLC adds to the giant's pre-existing establishments offices in the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawà:ke and Ireland, and Avid Gaming's HQ (located in Jersey).
In the realm of cyberspace, Entain is already seeking a licensing arrangement in Ontario, and Avid Gaming means it adds Sports Interaction to its current Canadian endeavors (the Party and bwin brands). Chief Executive Officer of Sports Interaction Will Golby will move to Entain, as will some other staff in senior positions.
Despite the obvious challenges posed by the global pandemic in recent years, Sports Interaction has continued to perform well, offering a resilience which (coupled with Canada's more open attitude to single event sports betting) makes its prospects for the future strong indeed. Gross annual revenues for 2021 rose to CAD 76 million, an increase of almost two-fifths on the preceding period, with pre-tax profits for the 2021 calendar year coming to CAD 17.4 million.
Due to Entain's pre-existing Canadian operations there are synergies to be realized between these and the new acquisition of Deis Ltd, with Entain PLC estimating these to be worth CAD 15 million or so.
Online betting, both casino and sports, has seen a rising trend over the years, and a particular spike in casino interest during 2020 when the first pandemic lockdowns meant many people were off work, sport was utterly disrupted, and many sought novel ways of amusing themselves in the meantime. However, with the COVID-19 crisis seemingly on its way out, the situation is looking particularly good for sports betting in Canada.
For a long time, both the United States and Canada forbade sports betting. The only exception was parlay betting (also known as a multiple or accumulator bet). These multi-stage bets required several different events to come good to pay out, but even the high payout was not sufficient to make sports betting attractive because if even one leg failed then a bet was a loss. However, the United States, perhaps surprisingly, started making moves (in some areas) to permit single event sports betting (so just a single event had to work out to come good). The common sporting culture of the USA and Canada made it very tempting for Canadian sports bettors to simply bet via US sites. And this fear of losing revenue to the US, or even to the criminal underworld in Canada, prompted Canadian lawmakers to act.
In the latter half of 2021, Canadian legislators enabled provinces to permit single events sports betting, an activity worth some CAD 14 billion per annum, it is believed (most of that previously being criminal, with CAD 4 billion spent in offshore betting sites). With a large and wealthy population, plus the common sporting interests shared with the USA, the purchase of Deis Ltd by Entain PLC makes an awful lot of sense for the betting giant.
The substantial changes to Canadian legislation make it likely that more changes in the sports betting landscape will follow on from the acquisition of Deis Ltd.