Image: Jette Nygaard-Andersen, CEO Entain
The era of gambling being viewed as a seedy and often unsavoury activity may be coming to an end. Entain, one of the largest betting and gambling companies in the world has a new leader at its helm who is hoping to change the face of gambling for the better.
Not only will Entain’s new boss drive the future of the massive organization but in the process, is building the foundations of a tech army to push the limits of interactive entertainment and transform our understanding of what gambling is all about.
What is Entain?
Entertain Group PLC, formerly GVC Holdings is an international sports betting and gambling company. As a constituent of the FTSE 100 and listed on the London Stock Exchange, Entain also owns a series of familiar brands such as Ladbrokes, Coral, Bwin, Sportingbet and PartyPoker.
Entain’s Change of Leadership
The last year and a half have been a series of upheavals worldwide, with the Covid-19 pandemic and social changes across the board, many companies have gone through some rather turbulent times. Entain Group is no exception either, as in January 2021, the corporation got a new leader when its previous CEO resigned.
The new CEO is 52-year old Danish Jette Nygaard-Andersen who had served on Entain’s board for a year before taking over the company in the midst of a pandemic, a takeover bid, and shortly after the company announced a strategic overhaul and rebrand amid pressure from UK regulators.
Nygaard-Andersen seems not at all phased by the turmoil around her and has big plans to make Entain more than a gambling operator, expanding the company’s entertainment offerings through a broader selection of verticals.
New Paths to Growth
With Nygaard-Andersen leading the charge, the company was rebranded from GVC Holdings to Entain Group and has now identified the “four pillars” it plans to build its business upon going forward.
- The core sports betting and gambling business
- The newly regulated UK market
- Countries that will soon legalise betting
- New digital products such as esports
In tackling these “four pillars,” Entain needs to have an adequate workforce that is up to the challenge. In order to accomplish these lofty goals, the betting behemoth plans to invest heavily in technology to meet the trials that may come in the next few years.
Overhaul of UK Gambling Laws
One of these challenges is sure to be the yet-to-be-determined overhaul of gambling laws in the UK. The intention is to reform gambling regulations to better protect players and keep operators socially responsible. In his 2021 keynote speech, Executive Director of the UKGC, Tim Miller said that the essence of the new legislation would be “New Normal, Higher Expectations”.
UK gambling laws are about to change, together with adequate campaigning policy, in order to protect players from companies that are tempting them by offering addictive no deposit, free spins, and other bonuses and giveaways.
As lawmakers in the UK discuss how to overhaul the country’s gambling legislation, it seems clear that a few items will be tossed for good such as VIP schemes and loyalty points. There’s talk about ramping up self-exclusion programs as well as the expectation that operators will provide responsible gambling tools of their own accord.
Enhanced Player Protections
In addition to improving customer service in all sectors, the company also plans to provide assistance for at-risk players and kids with its Safe Play Partnerships, “Mind Your Game” initiative with Game Quitters, and other support communities.
Continuing work begun with its partners in the US, the not-for-profit Entain Foundation aims to protect video game and esports players in Europe and the UK.
The flagship protection program from Entain is called “Advance Responsibility and Care” that uses artificial intelligence to mark problematic gambling behaviour as soon as it happens, sending prompts to players encouraging them to stop when they reach certain thresholds.
New Technology, New Entertainment
With an investment of roughly £20 million annually in responsible gambling, Entain is also looking at other media to master. Nygaard-Andersen has also expressed the importance of staying technologically relevant in today’s market, using streaming as an analogy of how the company should seek to advance.
Being a good business leader means always changing, adapting, and creating new paths to success. It looks like Entain is on the right track as they push the limits of our understanding of traditional gambling and further embrace technology as the way forward.
Good News on the Horizon
With everything in flux there is also some good news for Entain this year. Revising its earnings forecast considerably to £850m and £900m as sports betting and retail revenue are bouncing back more strongly than anticipated.
All in all, the outlook for Entain seems bright. With a technology-driven plan, rebranding efforts that will actually help its customers, and a fearless CEO, who knows what the future might hold.