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Jerome García January 9, 2024 2 min read
Entain Withdraws from More than 140 Unregulated Markets
The company reportedly withdrew from more than 140 unregulated gambling markets, including Antarctica and Vatican City
The leading global gaming and betting operator, Entain, started to withdraw from unregulated gambling markets across the globe back in November 2020. Since then, the company has exited many jurisdictions and as of the end of last year operates only in regulated markets. Only recently, Entain completed an initiative that was referred to internally as “Project Sunshine,” resulting in the company’s withdrawal from more than 140 unregulated gambling jurisdictions, a report released by the Financial Times reveals.
Citing an internal document from the company’s compliance team, the recent report confirmed that the latest withdrawal concluded the company’s initiative which has taken roughly three years. Among the territories Entain exited most recently are Vatican City, as well as Antarctica.
The company reportedly withdrew from a number of other territories and jurisdictions, some of which had a population of less than 1,000 people. Such included the French Southern and Antarctic Lands, United States Minor Outlying Islands, as well as the Pitcairn Islands, among others. Reportedly, Entain also exited larger unregulated markets, including Ukraine, Russia and Argentina.
The company estimated that the latest withdrawal may impact its EBITDA with £100 million ($127.1 million). However, Entain said it exited those jurisdictions to “create a more sustainable, higher-quality revenue base.” Additionally, the company explained: “We closed 140 markets where revenues ranged from significant to de-minimis at the time of exit, but where customers could bet with us.”
Withdrawal from Unregulated Markets Is in Line with DPA
Last year, Entain reached a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) with the Crown Prosecution Service. Under the DPA, the company agreed to pay some $737.5 million due to bribery-related offenses committed by its former business that operated in Turkey. Besides the payment, the DPA granted Entain 12 months to discontinue its operations in markets that are not regulated. This otherwise means the company agreed to exit unregulated markets and continue its operations only within regulated jurisdictions.
Currently, Entain remains operational in several markets where gambling regulation is expected soon. Those include Brazil, Mexico, Chile and Peru. If lawmakers in those markets legalize the activity, the company will be able to retain its presence.
Besides the DPA, back in December, Entain confirmed that its CEO, Jette Nygaard-Andersen, departed from the company. Upon announcing her immediate departure, she explained that with the HMRC matter settled, Entain is in stable condition.