Betsson targets Belgium with betFIRST acquisition and Groupe Partouche venture


Betsson has announced the acquisition of Belgian sports betting and gaming operator betFIRST amidst a move to launch an online casino offering in the nation with Groupe Partouche

All payable in cash, the group purchased all shares in betFIRST for a total value of €120m, of which up to €3m is an earnout payment subject to delivery on certain agreed financial targets being met. These figures represent x10 betFIRST’s estimated EBITDA for FY2023. 

Simultaneously, Betsson has confirmed a partnership with French operator Group Partouche in a bid to launch an online casino service in regulated markets, targeting Belgium primarily.

Pontus Lindwall, CEO and President of Betsson AB, commented: “We are very excited about entering the Belgian market together with our partners Groupe Partouche and see a strong strategic fit with the acquisition of betFIRST. 

“At Betsson, our growth strategy revolves around extending our presence into new markets, particularly in locally regulated or soon-to-be regulated markets. Belgium, where the online gaming market is regulated since 2011, aligns very well with this strategy. 

“Our business model is highly scalable, and these initiatives will add revenue and strengthen our profitability over time.”

betFIRST currently holds both a sports betting licence and a licence for online dice games in Belgium, while operating around 450 points of sale across the nation, in addition to its own gaming arcade. 

The acquired company’s recent financial reports have revealed that the firm recorded net gaming revenue of €51.2m in the last financial year ending December 31, 2022, with an adjusted EBITDA of €10m. 

While the acquisition is not conditional on regulatory approvals, the purchase is set to occur on, or around, July 5, 2023, with Betsson able to finance it with existing cash from its balance sheet and within existing credit facilities. 

The group has called upon Lazard as financial advisor for the acquisition, with Gernandt & Danielsson as principal legal advisor, together with Van Bael & Bellis and Edson Legal as legal advisors in Belgium.

Meanwhile, Betsson has suggested it will launch the collaborative online casino effort in the remaining half of 2023, using Groupe Partouche’s offline casino licence in Belgium by extending it to an online casino licence to offer a range of online casino products.