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GiG gears up to tier one with Sportnco deal

| By Laura Gumbrell | Reading Time: 3 minutes
Gaming Innovation Group (GiG) ended 2021 on a high note by announcing a deal to acquire the highly rated sportsbook and platform provider Sportnco for an initial €50.8m. Martin Collins, director of sales and business development at GiG, speaks to iGB about the acquisition and how it is set to revolutionise GiG's platform capabilities well beyond the sports betting vertical. 
GiG’s Martin Collins on local heroes in US sports betting

Martin Collins became director of sales and business development last year, heading up the sales, business development and marketing team. He joined GiG in 2019 as director of talent acquisition, before being promoted to director of business development. He has over two decades experience working within digital markets, 12 of which have been spent within the gaming sector.

GiG entered 2022 on a wave of optimism after sending a bold message of intent regarding its ambitions for its B2B business with the pre-Christmas announcement of a deal to acquire Sportnco Group for an initial €50.8m.

The acquisition follows a period during which GiG’s media services division has been the primary growth driver for a business which made a wholesale pivot to B2B in the wake of the disposal of its B2C assets to Betsson in early 2020. According to GiG’s director of sales and business development Martin Collins, the acquisition will have two major impacts on GiG’s B2B arm.

“Firstly, it massively improves our sports capability. In 2018, we launched GiG sports with some fairly prominent bands across various markets. However, sports was never our primary focus and, therefore, the challenges of the market ensured we did not grow at the rate we would have liked.  

“We now have a tier one sportsbook in our portfolio that operates in Western and Southern Europe, the US and Latin America which means we can confidently offer a premium end-to-end scenario including sports, which we’ve not been able to do properly in the past with GiG sports.

“The second element comes down to our ability to be active in more regulated markets. If you look at our portfolio prior to the acquisition, we had 12 regulated markets at GiG, and we plan to add five additional markets in 2022. Now, with Sportnco we’re up to 25 – and we have a further ten, which will take us up to 35 by the end of the year.”

Therefore GiG is now a “naturally compelling choice for any sports or casino-led brand wishing to expand quickly into new markets”, says Collins. This could range from local brands with specific regional identities to existing online businesses who want to drive more revenue into other markets. 

“It’s really difficult for any brand to enter multiple markets in a year. Believe me when I say, we understand the complexity. Indeed, that is why we have positioned ourselves in such a way, post acquisition. We are trying to deliver a tech solution in line with one of the industry’s key challenges and become a key to their success,” he says.

Acquiring market leaders 

Collins emphasised the importance of viewing Sportnco as a multifaceted business due to its acquisition of Tecnalis together with its Alira player account management platform 12 months prior to GiG’s deal for Sportnco being announced in December.

“It’s really important to understand that Sportnco offers two platform solutions because of Tecnalis. The Sportnco PAM that accompanies the Sportnco sportsbook is focused on the French-speaking markets, such as France and Belgium. Tecnalis, by contrast, has a strong presence in  Spanish-Latin-speaking markets.”

Collins explains that the combination of Sportnco, Tecnalis and GiG has created “a perfect synergy” which is mutually beneficial for the platforms now making up the combined business.

“Tecnalis is a great addition to GiG, already being prolific in Colombia and active in Peru, Brazil, Chile and Paraguay. They’ve also got potential deals in the pipeline in Mexico and Jamaica. They have infinitely more access to the Latin American market than we do and, perhaps more importantly, their platform has been built specifically to accommodate those in Southern Europe and Latin America.”

Addressing the larger market

Collins is confident that through addressing the larger market with this regional platform focus, GiG will not only create attractive commercial, operational, and technological synergies, but also deliver cost savings and accelerated growth. “The acquisition has essentially increased our addressable markets from 12 or 15 to an estimated 35 jurisdictions by the end of the year”, he says.

With the transaction expected to close in the coming weeks, the hard work behind the scenes at GiG to unleash the full potential of this landmark deal over the next 12-18 months is now underway, Collins reveals.

“Our focus is to first identify and solidify the synergies that we have and then start to deliver these across the global markets. This will start with the commercials but also working on our technical and operational synergies with a view to bringing all of those together over the next 12 to 18 months, in order to take full advantage.”

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