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HeadsUp in M&A talks ahead of Canada betting launch

| By Richard Mulligan
HeadsUp Entertainment – the former owner of the Canadian Poker Tour – is in discussions over a potential M&A ahead of entry into the regulated Canadian sports betting market in 2021.

The group, which recently appointed Doug Wilson as president and chief executive and is headquartered in Calgary, said it will launch its media content delivery platforms in the first week of January as it targets player acquisition in anticipation of the liberalisation of gambling laws in the country by spring.

HeadsUp said it is already in talks with two sportsbook software providers and is in negotiations with a strategic media partner as a potential merger candidate or acquisition to create unique market access.

“The rapidly evolving opportunities in the Canadian market, as well as in other countries, are very encouraging and our team has been anticipating licensing and government regulation that we are strategically poised to take advantage of,” said Wilson.

In November 2020, the Canadian federal government introduced bill C-218 to the House of Commons that, if passed by both House and Senate, would legalise single-game sports wagering within the country’s 10 provinces and three territories. It is anticipated that this bill will pass in the spring of 2021.

HeadsUp added: “The forthcoming legislation and subsequent changes to the Criminal Code of Canada will allow for HeadsUp to be positioned for rapid growth, taking to market platforms in sports betting, into an industry estimated to be over $14bn in annual gross gaming revenue as estimated by the Canadian Gaming Association.”

HeadsUp recently decided not to pursue the acquisition of Curacao-licensed online gaming business VIP Entertainment Group due to the potentially detrimental impact of owning shares in a grey market operation on its hopes of being approved as a regulated sports book operator in the US and Canada.

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