Entain Purchases Avid Gaming with Sports Interaction Ahead of Ontario Launch
As we get closer to the full-scale launch of mobile sports betting in Ontario, which will be one of the largest markets in North America, significant players in the industry are positioning themselves to take advantage. On February 7, Entain, the world’s largest sports betting firm, purchased Deis Ltd, the parent company of Avid Gaming, for C$300 million. In addition to other properties, Avid Gaming owns Sports Interaction, a leading sports betting brand in the Canadian market.
Ontario Sports Betting Timeline
On April 4, Ontario will launch its full mobile sports betting market following a series of delays in the legislative process. Canada signed Bill C-218 into law on August 27, 2021, paving the way for individual provinces to legislate mobile sports betting, similar to the way states can legalize the activity on a case-by-case basis in the US. iGaming Ontario began accepting applications from platform providers on September 13, 2021.
Why Did Entain Target Sports Interaction?
Entain owns 50% of BetMGM with MGM and a handful of other sports betting brands, including the Canada-based bwin and Party. So why did Entain see Sports Interaction as such a critical asset? Sports Interaction is one of the fastest-growing sports betting brands, particularly in the Canadian market, and it reported C$76 million in gross revenue in 2021, an increase of 40% year-over-year. Sports Interaction was founded in 1997 and has been one of Canada’s leading sports betting platforms ever since.
Sports Interaction also has a handful of partnerships that Entain will be able to leverage to grow its presence in the new Ontario Market. The most prominent such partner is Canada’s National Lacrosse League. The current assumption is that Entain’s current pursuit for a license will include Sports Interaction as its front-facing platform in Ontario once the market launches on April 4.
Mohawk Gaming Connection
As part of the purchase of Avid Gaming and Sports Interaction, Entain also receives the opportunity to leverage a unique connection with the Mohawks of Kahnawake as Sports Interaction is operated by Mohawk Online. Roughly 50% of Avid Gaming employees are Mohawk, and the Mohawk Online gaming revenue is invested back into the indigenous community of Kahnawake, a region of Quebec, Canada.
As of now, Mohawk Online’s Sports Interaction can accept players from Ontario without the necessity of registration with iGO or the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO). Entain’s purchase of Sports Interaction is expected to help bridge the gap between the competing interests of Kahnawake and Ontario.
Mutually Beneficial Partnership
Kahseneenhawe Sky-Deer, the Grand Chief of the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake, voiced support for the deal with Entain, calling it a “world class operator with a genuine desire to positively contribute to the communities in which it operates.” Sky-Deer also said the partnership will allow for a “prime opportunity for the bolstering of our self-sufficiency through the continuing success of Sports Interaction.”
Jette Nygaard-Andersen, CEO of Entain, described how Sports Interaction is “aligned perfectly with our own ambitions of great customer service and ambitious growth, coupled with an unwavering commitment to sustainability.” Through Sports Interaction, Entain will be able to reach a larger audience in Ontario, and the greater Canadian market as its sports betting industry continues to grow and develop.