- Canadian lottery and gaming technology provider Kings Entertainment has announced an agreement to acquire the parent company of Bet99 casino and sportsbook.
- Bet99 is a growing gaming brand that primarily serves the Canadian market.
- Kings Entertainment is hoping to expand into the sports betting and iGaming sector with the acquisition.
With the US sports betting marketplace experiencing a period of stagnation caused by states implementing high taxes and anti-competitive regulatory measures, the attention of the industry has turned to Canada. The country legalized single game sports betting last year (prior to that only parlay wagering was permitted) and is in the early days of growing as a market. So far, only one province has opened up their sports betting and iGaming market to the private sector but it’s a big one: Ontario. Ontario came up with the best regulatory framework in North America and the hope is that other Canadian provinces will emulate them.
This includes not only the customer facing segment of the industry but the ‘B2B’ activities as well. As was the case in the early days of US sports betting, you can expect a significant amount of merger and acquisition activity focused on the Canadian market. Late last week, a big acquisition was announced as lottery focused gaming technology provider Kings Entertainment announced their plan to acquire the parent company of Canadian facing sportsbook Bet99.
The goal of the deal is twofold: for Kings Entertainment, they’re able to expand into the sports betting space with a brand that is already well established in the Canadian marketplace. For Bet99, they get access to capital markets that will give them the resources to grow and improve the brand. The deal is ‘subject to terms and conditions’ typical of this type of transaction including approval of shareholders and the Canadian Securities Exchange.
Here’s the plan for the executive leadership structure of the combined companies:
Current Bet99 CEO Jared Beber will take on the CEO role of the merged company, with Kings Entertainment CEO Steve Budin continuing to lead LottoKings operations and acting in an advisory role. Former CEO and Founder of international gaming giant Bragg Gaming, Adam Arviv, will step into the Executive Chair role of the combined entity. Arviv is credited with the 2021 turnaround of Bragg Gaming, where he eliminated $50M of debt, built a strong balance sheet with $45M in cash and zero debt, and took the stock from $0.20 to $3.00 (pre-consolidation).
Steve Budin, CEO of Kings Entertainment, is excited about the deal:
“The combination of Kings Entertainment, a company led by pioneers of the international online sports gambling industry, and SVH, the parent company of operators of the market-leading Bet99 brand, will be transformative for the Canadian sports betting sector. Our vision for Kings has always been to build leadership positions within each of the regulated jurisdictions that we enter, and this agreement will certainly accelerate that goal within the Canadian landscape and beyond.”
Jared Beber, CEO, of Sports Venture Holdings, likes not only the partnership with a successful gaming company but also the opportunity to further grow the Bet99 brand:
“Merging with an internationally recognized online betting veteran such as Kings is a natural next step for SVH. Bringing the Bet99 brand to the public capital markets, through Kings’ CSE and OTC listings, will not only support expansion by engaging a much broader investor base, but will also build the Bet99 brand with an even wider audience of betting enthusiasts.
BET99 has adopted a hyper localized approach to create a premiere Canadian online sportsbook and casino. Since launching in 2020, BET99 has consistently innovated to create a diverse product and service tailored specifically to the unique nuances of the Canadian market. Since inception BET99 has grown rapidly and has now handled over $1.2 billion in bets across both Sportsbook and Casino. From CY2020 to CY2021 Bet99 grew net gaming revenue from ~$600k to ~$26 million and in just the first quarter ended March 31, 2022 they generated ~$12.2 million (equating to run-rate full year net gaming revenue of $49 million)i.
Furthermore, the brand has entered into a vast array of unique Canadian Partnerships including UFC Hall of Famer Georges-St-Pierre, NHL All-Star Auston Mathews, two time Olympian Alysha Newman, the Ottawa Senators, the CF Montreal, the Montreal Alouettes, and many more.
The press release also indicates that the combined company will be rebranded as ‘Interactive Entertainment Group Inc.’ In addition, the deal is congingent on Bet99 (or other SVH subsidiary) being licensed in Ontario. Bet99 is reportedly in the process of applying for an interactive gaming license from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO).