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Esports Entertainment expands igaming business with Lucky Dino deal

| By Robin Harrison
Esports Entertainment Group has announced its second igaming acquisition of the year, with a $30m (£22.2m/€24.6m) deal for Malta-licensed operator Lucky Dino Gaming.
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The operator runs four brands under its Malta licence – Lucky Dino, Olaspill, Kalevala Kasino and Casino Jefe – which are powered by proprietary technology. 

The business’ tech stack incorporates affiliate marketing software, payment servers and a customer relationship management (CRM) system including a gamification and loyalty engine and automated player management functionality.

The $30m fee is to be financed through a debt facility produced by Esports Entertainment. Boutique investment and M&A brokerage RB Capital served as the sell-side advisors for the transaction.

“Over the past five years, Lucky Dino has evolved from a single brand white-label casino operator into a multi-brand, class-leading casino operator and technology business,” Esports Entertainment Group chief executive Grant Johnson said. 

“In addition to further strengthening our tech stack, Lucky Dino’s assets will give us a substantial foothold in multiple new jurisdictions across Europe and Scandinavia where esports are extremely popular, and with Lucky Dino’s 30,000 monthly active casino players we will have tremendous cross-selling opportunities with our SportNation and Vie.gg betting platforms.”

Lucky Dino generated revenue of $21m in its 2020 fiscal year, and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of $3.8m. Revenue for FY2021 is expected to rise to $24m, and EBITDA to $5m, before growing to $29m and $6.5m respectively in FY2022. 

“Lucky Dino has generated an impressive track record of growth, reporting an 86% compound annual growth rate on revenue for the five years ended June 30, 2020,” Johnson added. 

“With opportunities to realise synergies across shared back-office functions, payment processing and more, we are in a great position to build upon Lucky Dino’s notable EBITDA performance. Ultimately, we will look to bring this exciting online casino platform to the US in the future alongside our vie.gg esports offering.”

It is Esports Entertainment’s second major igaming acquisition of the year, following the closing of a deal for Sportnation operator Argyll Entertainment in July. 

Independent capital markets advisor Akur Capital, meanwhile, was hired to serve as the business’ exclusive advisor on further igaming M&A that same month.

As well as building up its real-money gaming arm, Esports Entertainment has also acquired significant land-based and online tournament infrastructure, most notably through a $43m deal for acquire B2B software business ggCircuit and esports centre operator Helix eSports. 

It also acquired peer-to-peer technology assets from Flip Gaming in September, expects to finalise a deal for tournament organiser and technology provider Esports Gaming League (EGL) in January next year.

The EGL technology, meanwhile, will be used to power tournaments for National Football League franchise the Philadelphia Eagles, through a deal announced yesterday (15 December)

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