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O’Loughlin leaves Scientific Games amid reports of Eddie Jordan OpenBet bid

| By Richard Mulligan
Scientific Games Corporation has announced the departure of senior executive Keith O’Loughlin amid reports he is backing a takeover of the group’s sports betting business by motorsports tycoon Eddie Jordan.

Scientific Games issued a statement late on Friday night confirming that O’Loughlin, the group’s senior vice-president sportsbook, resigned in June after four years in position.

The group also announced the appointment of a new chief technology officer for the OpenSports division, but did not name this new appointment. The new CTO will report to Scientific Games chief executive Jordan Levin.

The statement came as a story in The Currency, an Irish business news website, reported that Jordan – a close friend of O’Loughlin – is leading a $1bn (£729.2m/€849.8m) bid for the OpenBet division, which was put on the market by Scientific Games in recent weeks in an effort to slash its debts.

While Las Vegas-headquartered Scientific Games is looking at a variety of options as it seeks to divest the OpenBet business, The Currency said “Jordan, with O’Loughlin’s backing, has made an expression of interest for the division”.

When announcing the plan to divest its sports business in June, the Nasdaq-listed Scientific Games, had said that it “does not intend to comment on or provide updates regarding these matters unless and until it determines that further disclosure is appropriate or required based on the then-current facts and circumstances.” In announcing the exit, the supplier reiterated that it “will not comment on any further speculation”.

The announcement of O’Loughlin’s departure came soon after The Currency story went live on Friday, although Scientific Games claims the former chief executive for Boylesports Online and sportsbook director at Ladbrokes Coral left the group of his own accord last month. His LinkedIn profile has not yet been updated to reflect the change.

O’Loughlin was executive vice president of OpenBet before it was sold to Scientific Games by NYX Gaming Group in 2018. He has since led the group’s sports betting business, driving its growth in the burgeoning US market.

In June, Scientific Games said it is evaluating strategic alternatives to execute the divestitures for both its sports and lottery businesses, including an initial public offering or a combination with a special purpose acquisition company, or a sale or a strategic combination with another business. The divestment is planned to position the company for “sustainable growth” with chief executive Barry Cottle highlighting the importance of reducing debt to provide long-term stability.

At the conclusion of the process, Scientific Games will consist of “leading gaming, igaming and SciPlay businesses”. With this focus, it intends to grow its digital offerings to be “comparable in size to the land-based gaming business within three years,” Cottle said.

He added: “[This] announcement reflects key steps to optimize our portfolio and strengthen our balance sheet by significantly de-levering while also targeting investments in our largest growth opportunities.”

Last week, Scientific Games also announced that it has submitted a proposal to acquire the 19% of its social gaming division SciPlay Corporation that it does not yet own in a $1.9bn deal, making the division a wholly-owned subsidiary. SciPlay shareholders would receive 0.250 shares of Scientific Games for each share of SciPlay.

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