Compliance? It’s A Black and White Affair For Entain
The drive to “clean-up” gambling may–quite literally, in the case of betting giant Entain–be a black and white affair, but the fading supergroup, rocked by a series of corporate and compliance crises, is now at risk of becoming a laughing stock in the court of iGaming opinion.
They’ve decided, after great deliberation, to pull out of Antarctica, an unregulated “cold market” of 500 humans — and some 20 million penguins.
The penguins, according to highly-placed sources close to iGamingFuture, are devastated.
“This is an incredibly tough territory to survive in, especially in the depths of mid-Winter,” one Emperor penguin told this reporter.
“Apart from procreating, the only pleasure we get is the odd punt on likely snowfall, the number of new chicks, or potential impacts of global warming.
“Ladbrokes were offering great odds on disappearing icebergs, for example.
“I know it was a cold market but now they’ve decided to pull out and left us all snow adrift.”
Also among the 140-odd unregulated gambling territories that FTSE100 Entain has ditched in a belated attempt to clean-up its image since being ensnared in a Turkish gambling bribery and money laundering scandal is the Vatican City in Rome, Italy.
Not surprisingly, given Christianity’s problematic relationship with betting, comment was not forthcoming from the Holy See.
According to UK paper-of-record The Financial Times (FT), Entain “was not generating any revenues from Antarctica and The Vatican in the run-up to closure.”
But the news certainly adds a comedic shine to the crisis and share tumble that has rocked the Omnichannel since it was hit with a massive £585 million fine by British tax and regulatory authorities over its historic malfeasance in Turkey, when the company was known as GVC, before rebranding as Entain in November, 2020.
Entain CEO Jette Nygaard-Andersen was sent on her merry way just before Christmas.
And only last week the Entain Board, led by Chair Barry Gibson, caved to intense activist shareholder pressure by inviting major US stakeholder Ricky Sandler, of New York hedge fund Eminence Capital, to become a non-executive Director.
Entain’s plan to close action in unregulated markets was, according to the FT, known internally as “Project Sunrise”.
It was conducted in tandem with a controversial buying spree by Nygaard-Andersen/Gibson, which incurred the wrath of Sandler and other investors for diluting Entain stock – and which has seen the paper value of Entain plummet by some 40 percent in the last 12-months.
As for Antarctica’s penguins, most have reacted to the disappointing Entain news with typical sang-froid.
“We got used to being left out in the cold a long, long time ago,” wisecracked one of the flightless wonders before waddling off to find their mate.