Entain, the parent company of BetCity, has initiated legal action against the former owners of the Netherlands-based gambling brand. The lawsuit, filed on December 7, 2023, in the UK’s Commercial Court, revolves around a Part 7 Claim, indicating an unavoidable dispute over a commercial contract, likely related to Entain’s acquisition of BetCity.
The specifics of the allegations against Sports Entertainment Media, the former owners of BetCity, have not been confirmed. Entain completed the acquisition of BetCity in early 2023 for an initial consideration of €300 million, with a potential additional payment of up to €550 million. While the acquisition initially appeared to proceed smoothly, the sudden lawsuit has cast doubt on the relationship between the two parties.
Entain has enlisted the services of Clifford Chance, an international law firm, to represent them in the case. Meanwhile, Sports Entertainment Media will be represented by Sidley Austin, another prominent law firm. The lawsuit also involves individual shareholders of Sports Entertainment Media, including the Singels family, and former BetCity leaders such as ex-CEO Melvin Bostelaar and ex-marketing director Robert Kooiman.
Despite attempts by the press to elicit comments from the involved parties, both BetCity’s former owners and Entain declined to provide official statements regarding the matter. BetCity, being one of the original ten online casino licensees in the Netherlands, holds a significant market share in the country, contributing to Entain’s global presence.
Meanwhile, Entain has recently withdrawn from over 140 unregulated markets following a deferred prosecution agreement with the Crown Prosecution Service. The agreement required Entain to focus solely on regulated markets and exit all unregulated ones, except those where regulatory changes are expected in the near future. This strategic move aligns with Entain’s commitment to operating in compliance with gambling regulations.