Entain to exit markets with “no clear path” to regulation

| By Daniel O'Boyle
Entain will exit any markets “where it no longer sees a path to domestic regulation”, the business announced.
Jette Nygaard-Andersen

Entain announced plans in 2020 for all of its revenue to come from locally regulated markets, and said that it intends to be 100% regulated by the end of 2023. While it withdrew from many unregulated markets in the following years, it remained in certain jurisdictions that it described as “regulating”, such as Brazil.

Now, Entain has said it will “accelerate this process by exiting its few remaining markets where there is no clear path to market liberalisation via domestic regulation”. However, it will remain in “a small number of markets where it expects changes in regulation will enable it to obtain domestic licences in due course”.

“As part of the profound and far-reaching transformation programme that Entain has undergone in the last few years, we took the decision in 2020 to only operate in nationally regulated markets,” Entain chair Barry Gibson said. “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.”

Entain said that the revenue impact from these latest exits is “relatively small” and will not affect its 2023 expectations. Last year, the business revealed in its ESG report that 99% of its revenue already came from locally regulated markets as of the end of 2021.

While it did not mention specific markets, Brazil is one jurisdiction in which plans for regulation had recently been set back. The country was set to regulate sports betting, having published rules on the matter, but president Jair Bolsonaro opted not to sign these rules before the deadline to do so. As a result, the efforts to regulate sports betting were sent back to square one.

Online casino gaming may still be legalised in Brazil after the Chamber of Deputies passed a law to do so last year, but this would still need Senate and presidential approval to become law, meaning it may take a long time for the vertical to launch.

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