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UK – Entain expedites exit from ‘most’ grey markets

By - 18 January 2023

Entain is accelerating plans to withdraw from a number of unregulated markets in a carefully worded announcement earlier this morning. The global sports betting, gaming and interactive entertainment group has not said that it intends to withdraw from all unregulated markets in 2023, only that it plans to speed the exit in “a number” of unregulated markets where it no longer sees a path to domestic regulation.
The announcement echoes the commitment made by Entain on November 12, 2020, in which the Group committed to a strategy by which 100 per cent of the Group’s revenue would come from markets that are nationally regulated by 2024. From today, the Group will accelerate this process by exiting its few remaining markets where there is no clear path to market liberalisation via domestic regulation.

The Group, which is currently licensed in more than 30 countries, has not revealed which markets it intends to expedite its departure, nor those in which it will remain. However, Entain does clarify that there are a “small number” of markets where it expects changes in regulation that will enable it to obtain domestic licenses in due course. With the exception of these markets, 100 per cent of the Group’s revenue will now derive from domestically regulated markets where it is licensed. 

Tellingly, Entain expects that net gaming revenue and EBITDA impact from these closures will be relatively small, suggesting that it’s exiting minor markets, with the small number of markets in which it remains, more significant in terms of revenue loss, should it withdraw. The difference being, is this a statement announcing Entain is speeding its commitment to its 2020 goal, or a clarification of why it’s not going to hit its 100 per cent target this year?
Barry Gibson, Entain’s Chair, commented: “As part of the transformation programme that Entain has undergone in the last few years, we took the decision in 2020 to only operate in nationally regulated markets. Today’s announcement is therefore a continuation of that strategy, and should be taken as a clear demonstration of Entain’s commitment to the highest standards of corporate responsibility, governance, sustainability, and player safety. 

“We stated at the outset that we would exit any market that wasn’t able to regulate at sufficient pace or to the right standards, and we have acted decisively to do so.  We are proud to be leading our industry as the only global operator taking this approach of solely operating in markets where there is domestic licensing.”

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