One of the world’s biggest betting and gaming operators has just announced that it plans to purchase a Seattle-based esports start-up. The company has agreed to hand over £50m to the owners of Unikrn.
For those of us who live in the UK, the name Entain is still relatively new. However, in its previous guise as GVC Holdings, it’s well-known by bingo players, as well as online casino and sportsbook fans as it owns some of the biggest names in the British gambling industry, including Ladbrokes, Coral, Gala and Foxy.
In July 2018, Entain began expanding into the US market as a result of an exciting new partnership with MGM Resorts International.
Now, it has unveiled plans to strengthen its US growth with the purchase of an esports start-up company called Unikrn.
Who is Unikrn?
Unikrn was founded in 2014 as an online esports betting and gaming company.
What is esports?
Esports is a term that’s used to describe competitive video gaming. It typically consists of tournaments in which professional and/or amateur gamers go head-to-head in hopes of winning a cash prize.
Some examples of popular esports tournaments are Counter-Strike, Call of Duty and League of Legends.
Why is Entertain interested in esports?
The rise in popularity of esports has caused several UK betting brands to enter the market in recent years. For instance, William Hill, Bet365 and Betfred all now offer their customers esports betting.
More about the Unikrn takeover
As Unikrn is a US firm, it is unlikely that Entain’s takeover will result in Unikrn offering its services to UK customers. However, it’s a sign that Entain is planning to continue expanding into other regulated markets other than just the UK and Europe.
The operator is also keen to bring social responsibility measures to the global esports industry.
In July 2021, it launched several initiatives to support vulnerable Esports and video gaming players, including a responsible gaming campaign called “Mind Your Game”, and partnerships with gaming addiction organisations, Kindbridge and Game Quitters.