Ladbrokes is one of the most trusted betting sites worldwide and its parent organization is Entain has recently announced that the company will be acquiring a Seattle esports betting startup company called Unikrn. So far, the terms of the deal have yet to be disclosed.
Entrain is formerly known as GVC and aside from Ladbrokes, it is also known for its other established brands like Bwin, Eurobet, Coral, Neds International, Crystalbet, and SportingBet. It also owns online casino games and brands like CasinoClub, Foxy, and PartyCasino. This makes Entain one of the betting companies with the most comprehensive portfolio of brands. And now, Unikrn will be a part of its long list.
More About Esports Betting Company Unirkn
Rahul Sood who used to lead Microsoft ventures and tech veteran Karl Flores founded Unikrn in 2014 and it has been offering its services to over 20 nations where legal betting is allowed. Last year, Flores has taken over Sood’s position as the CEO, and today, they already have around 40 employees.
Sood talked to GeekWire about what’s next for him now that he is no longer the CEO of the company. He is now looking for a new opportunity but he will still be staying in Seattle.
He said, “It’s been a fun journey with celebrations, challenges, and tons of happiness. I’m excited about the future of Unikrn and Entain, and I’m gonna start looking for something cool to do again.”
Unikrn is backed by celebrity investors like Mark Cuban and Ashton Kutcher. Owler reports that the company’s estimated annual revenue is at 5 million US Dollars. After Entain agrees to acquire the company, Justin Dellario from Twitch will be heading this esports division.
Dellario spoke to CNBC about how the business would grow from this agreement.
He said, “We can triple our business here, just looking at how this market will multiply. It’s all about more spent, more engagement, more fun for the customers.”
Why Betting Companies are Showing Interest in Esports
2020 has simply been a great year for esports in general and betting companies saw an increase in betting on tournaments on gaming titles like CS GO, DOTA 2, and League of Legends. Entain CEO Jett Nygaard-Andersen talked about how exciting the opportunity is.
Nygaard-Andersen said, “One exciting opportunity is the growing esports skill-based wagering market. We are building the first scalable platform to address this market and I am delighted that Justin Dellario is joining us to lead our growth in this new area.”
Based on reports, Entain is expecting that both esports and social casino gaming could add up to $20 billion US in market shares. The CEO also sees at least $160 billion of the addressable market, igaming, and interactive gaming.
Entain is now making it clear that they are expanding their business. This is after knowing that MGM Resorts is interested in owning Entain. This casino powerhouse has been reported to bid $11 billion to buy Entain earlier this year. Its joint venture with MGM Resorts was able to take the second place market position in the US for sports betting and iGaming.
However, Entain’s board rebuffed the offer and said that this made the company significantly undervalued.
Reports suggest that MGM is interested in acquiring Entain mainly because of its technology and Global market exposure. MGM CEO Bill Hornbuckle spoke about his M&A priorities during the second-quarter earnings call and said,
“We have expressed desires in digital and the obvious. I must say our strategy doesn’t refer to and hinge simply on one other company. We are very excited by our JV [joint venture] with BetMGM.”
When Nygaard-Anderson was asked about the efforts of MGM to acquire Entain, she only said, “What we’re talking about today is how we can build value and growth as a standalone company.”
Aside from Entain and Unikrn, the founder of Rivalry, a Canadian esports betting firm that is worth around $150 million, Steven Salz also thinks the same way about esports betting. Salz talked about how games like LoL, CS: Go, and now account for more than 90 percent of betting in his company.
Salz also suspects that nearly every bookmaker all around the company that the success of these games will eventually be transferred to Riot Games’ Valorant. Last year, first-person shooting games continue to grow popular with millions of players and viewers. He said that it will claim the top spot in the coming years and that the biggest esports organizations are now fielding competitive rosters.