Betting Site Bethard Sold for £8.4m
Esports Entertainment Group (EEG), the betting provider behind sports betting site and online casino Bethard, has announced that a deal has been reached to sell the betting site for €9.5m (about £8.4m). The sale at this price means that the undisclosed acquirer has received a large “discount”, with EEG having acquired the betting site in 2021 for €16m (about £14.1m) plus a 12% of Bethard’s earnings over the following two years (approximately £5m).
Speaking about the sale, EEG’s Chief Executive Alex Igelman said:
“I am very pleased at the work that is being undertaken to reduce debt and focus on our core igaming and esports assets. We remain committed to building a world-class esports gambling operation that is global in reach and that provides esports content and strategic services to those involved in esports gambling, as well as those seeking to enter the market. I am extremely encouraged and pleased with the speed and efficiency in which senior management effectuated these important actions.”
Bethard’s story is different to those of other betting sites. It was founded in 2014 by a small group of ex-gamblers who aimed to change and revolutionise gambling. One of the tactics they liked implementing was “laying the underdog”. For example, in the famous Connor McGregor v Floyd Mayweather boxing match in 2017, while all other betting sites offered 3/10 odds on Mayweather, Bethard offered 1/10 odds. The fight was expected to set a record and attract more bets than any other match in history. For example, one of the popular UK betting sites, Betfair, recorded over £59m in bets on the match, with £12m wagered in the final 5 hours before it.
While the majority of the bets were on 29-year-old McGregor, a two-division MMA fighter with no professional boxing experience, Mayweather, a 40-year-old undefeated five-division boxing world champion also attracted some heavy bets, mainly from professional bettors, and is known to have had at least six $1m bets placed on him in Nevada. The fight resulted in what experts consider the largest redistribution of cash from bookmakers to amateur bettors, and the win made Bethard the cash it needed to try and take over the gambling industry.
4 months later, Bethard attracted Zlatan Ibrahimović as a brand ambassador, which made him a co-owner of the bookmaker with 10% stake ownership (he was later fined €50,000 by UEFA for this). Everything looked great for Bethard at the time and the bookmaker was becoming one of the most popular betting sites in Scandinavia, challenging established industry leaders such as Betsson group. The company also managed to secure a licence from the UK Gambling Commission on 13/12/2017, however things did not go well for it in the UK, and it surrendered its licence on 10/08/2020 without explaining the reason for leaving the country.
The acquisition by EEG was a major milestone in the brand’s development. EEG is the company behind sports betting sites and live online casinos such as Lucky Dino, JustWow, and Vie. At the time of acquiring Bethard, EEG stated that the betting site was another great addition to the Group and would substantially increase its revenues and available markets. Through Bethard, EEG acquired two new licences, one of which was for Sweden – a strategically important market for the group. The other licence was for Malta.
The issue was that the aggressive buying of betting sites such as Bethard put EEG in debt, and the newly acquired brands failed to meet the expectations, and therefore had to be resold in order to make up cash. As such, the Bethard sale means that EEG will pocket about £1.45m of the selling price, and will pay on about £5.72m of it in order to be released from payment of contingent consideration liability from the Bethard acquisition. Meanwhile, the new owner will take over about £1.06m of liabilities, and may be eligible to withhold about £132,000 of the purchase price if it turns out that the betting site is in more debt than that.
Meanwhile, EEG already closed another of its betting brands in the UK in December 2022. Argyll Entertainment, the company behind betting sites SportNation and RedZone, was acquired by EEG in 2020, but EEG decided to terminate its operations, stating that it was “closing for a variety of reasons including the economics of operating a small igaming business in the UK market”.
Following the closure of Argyle Entertainment and Bethard, EEG will focus on its other betting sites, and this mainly means Lucky Dino which runs on the Group’s proprietary Idefix betting platform. With largely reduced amounts of debt and some new cash influx, EEG now has the chance to stabilise its operations and start growing. We will follow the company’s future and will report anything relevant here – please visit our blog again for more information.