GVC to buy leading Georgian betting group

GVC in the middle of takeover of British high street bookmaker Ladbrokes Coral


Online betting group GVC Holdings is buying one of the “leading online gaming operators in the Republic of Georgia”, Crystalbet, as part of shift in strategy towards regulated gambling markets.

GVC, which is in the middle of a takeover of British high street bookmaker Ladbrokes Coral, will acquire 51 per cent of Crystalbet up front for €41 million in cash. It has agreed to buy the remaining 49 per cent in 2021 for a maximum of €150 million.

Launched in 2011, Crystalbet holds licences for online gaming including sports betting, casino games, and poker in the regulated market of the Republic of Georgia.

Historically, GVC’s growth had been aided by a strategy of targeting “grey markets” which were untaxed or unregulated. But last year, the Isle of Man-based group moved away from that model , following rivals such as Paddy Power Betfair.

Crystalbet had revenues of €34 million in the year to December, and post-tax profits of €10 million. Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2018