Entain Keeps Gas Pedal Down on BetCity Claim Against Former Owners

Entain Plc has disclosed its legal proceedings against the former owners of BetCity (BetEnt BV) over a dispute over the acquisition deal brokered in 2022.

Documents obtained by CasinoNieuws.nl have shown that Simon Zinger, Director of Entain Holdings Netherlands, is suing for an undisclosed amount of damages.

Entain successfully completed the acquisition of Dutch KOA-licensed online casino BetCity in June 2022 for a total consideration of €850m. The conditions involved a €550m contingency reward in 2024, with a BetCity 10x target EBITDA by the end of the 2023 financial year. 

The FTSE100 firm now claims that the deal was overpriced due to two ongoing investigations by the Dutch Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) gaming authority that the sellers – Sports Entertainment Media BV, the Singels Family, former BetCity CEO Melvin Bostelaar, and former executive Robert Kooiman – failed to disclose.

The two probes resulted in BetCity being fined €3m for violations of the Dutch Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Act (Wwft), and an additional €400,000 over advertising shortcomings.

Entain has maintained that the owners were aware of the ongoing investigations, despite no knowledge indicated by BetCity during the time of the purchase. While the two fines were paid by the sellers, Entain claims that a clause allows it to seek additional claims.

No official details have been provided as to how much the FTSE100 gambling group is seeking in damages, with both companies refusing to comment on the matter.

Entain is currently experiencing internal restructuring after the departure of former CEO Jette Nygaard-Andersen, with non-executive Director Stella David taking the role of Interim CEO.

Last year, the firm reached an agreement with the HMRC to pay a £600m settlement over Bribery Act shortcomings connected to its former Turkey-facing venture Headlong Limited.

In a move to tighten its corporate responsibility and tune up its compliance duties, Entain recently began withdrawing from markets that currently have no regulatory regimes in place.

The board of Entain will publish its full-year 2023 trading results on 7 March 2024.

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