One of Paddy Power owner Flutter Entertainment’s chief rivals has upped the ante in the race to control the rapidly widening European gambling market.
British group Entain – which owns bookmakers Ladbrokes and Coral and online gaming sites like PartyPoker, Gala Bingo and Foxy Bingo – has acquired companies in Portugal and Latvia; expanding its reach across the ever-loosening global betting market to 27 countries.
It also strengthens its hand in the growing mainland European market.
Already in Germany and Spain, where it owns Bwin, Entain has bought Portuguese company Bet.pt and Latvian market leader Enlabs, which trades as Optibet. The latter covers all three Baltic states, while Bet.pt introduces Entain to a Portugal betting market estimated to be worth close to €600m inside the next two years.
"Portugal and the Baltic region represent highly attractive, locally regulated and fast-growing gaming markets. Both these acquisitions further deliver on our growth strategy of expanding across fast-growing international markets," said Entain’s chief financial officer and deputy chief executive Rob Wood.
He said Entain is looking for more international expansion opportunities.
While Flutter has focused on becoming the main online player in the US market, which is now estimated to be worth around €17bn by 2025, the Paddy Power owner has not turned its back on Europe.
It said, last year, that mainland Europe and Latin America form part of its expansion plan along with the US.
Flutter said Latin America is “a big opportunity”, particularly Brazil and Argentina, while further growth in Germany is also on the agenda.
Flutter recently bought a controlling stake in India-based company Junglee Games.