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Saturday, March 2, 2024

U.S. Companies Clash Over Legacy U.K. Gambling Operators

  • MGM Resorts is exploring ways in which it might take full control over BetMGM, which it owns 50-50 with Entain.
  • DraftKings has made a $22 billion offer for Entain.
William Hill/Design: Alex Brooks

Legal sports betting in the U.S. has set off a tug-of-war over decades-old U.K. betting companies.

MGM Resorts is seeking to gain full control of BetMGM now that its partner in that enterprise, Entain, is weighing a takeover offer from rival DraftKings. BetMGM, owned 50-50 by MGM and Entain, operates a U.S.-based sportsbook and other gambling properties. 

MGM could try to gain a majority of board seats at BetMGM, or take the company public.

Entain owns 135-year-old betting operator Ladbrokes, Coral, and PartyPoker.

  • DraftKings offered $22 billion for Entain in cash and stock, Entain said Tuesday. The company rejected an offer of half that amount from MGM in January. 
  • MGM said on Tuesday that a DraftKings acquisition of Entain would require BetMGM’s consent because DraftKings owns a competing U.S. business.
  • Revenue projections for BetMGM are expected to surpass $1 billion next year.

The tussle is the latest chapter in a restructuring of the U.K.’s legacy gambling operators. Earlier this month, William Hill, founded in 1934, sold its non-U.S. properties to 888 Holdings for $2.8 billion. The company was acquired by U.S.-based casino operator Caesars Entertainment for $4 billion in April. 

Spending on U.K. gambling companies rocketed to $22.6 billion in the third quarter, more than triple the previous four quarters combined, according to Bloomberg.

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