Hundreds of Entain employees are at risk of redundancy as the operator streamlines its commercial operating structure.
The restructure, which is being overseen by Entain chief commercial officer (CCO) Dominic Grounsell, will see Entain switch from a brand-led strategy to a regional strategy.
Under the existing set-up, each Entain portfolio brand includes a team of managers across CRM, marketing, business intelligence and analytics. The business has operated this way for decades, since it was originally established as bwin.party.
However, iGaming NEXT understands the new structure will be based on geography, leading to a duplication of senior roles and the increased likelihood of job losses.
Entain’s offices in Vienna, Austria and Lisbon, Portugal are expected to feel the impacts of the reshuffle, with some staff being invited to reapply for their current positions.
There are currently four pages of open vacancies displayed on the company’s Vienna jobs board, none of which relate to commercial or marketing roles.
iGaming NEXT has learned that Entain’s digital marketing roles in Gibraltar across PPC, SEO and programmatic are also at risk.
Staff were told the current headcount is too high during internal meetings this week.
The Rock is currently home to Entain brands including Coral, Foxy, Gala and PartyPoker.
Entain’s operating structure in London has also changed.
The firm’s One New Change office, situated in the shadow of St Paul’s Cathedral, is no longer open. The office phone number listed on Entain’s website now automatically redirects to Gibraltar.
Entain signed a 10-year lease for the sought-after location in 2013 which expired earlier this year. Sources have suggested that renewal rates were deemed too high to justify, with the company keeping an increasingly close eye on costs in recent quarters.
One New Change was home to many different business functions, including more than 80 poker employees, according to a floorplan seen by iGaming NEXT.
The building also played host to casino, legal, finance, digital marketing, HR, corporate affairs and investor relations staff, and some C-levels, including CFO and deputy CEO Rob Wood.
Staff have since been relocated to the Ladbrokes Coral office in Stratford, East London, while others have moved to a new location in Nottingham.
“As a global business that continues to grow organically and through M&A, we are constantly evolving to ensure that we are positioned as strongly as possible to capture the significant opportunities in front of us, as well as ensuring we continue to deliver the best offer to our customers,” said an Entain spokesperson when contacted for comment by iGaming NEXT.
Entain is due to report its H1 financial results on 10 August 2023.
Entain’s partypoker and PartyCasino brands have gone live with licensed operations in Ontario after registering with the local gambling regulator.
Partypoker players in the province will now be moved onto a new Ontario-ring-fenced domain name; on.partypoker.ca, which went launched on 12 April. They will also need to download a new poker client.
Once on the platform, customers will be able to access poker, casino and sports betting from once central hub, with Canadian dollars now in use.
However, some familiar casino titles may no longer be available to players due to local market regulations.
Entain MD of Party brands Vic Walia: “As a Canadian and Toronto native myself, I am particularly proud of this moment in our company’s history.”
Any customers’ cash balances will be automatically transferred to the new platform and converted into Canadian dollars after players consent to the Ontario-specific terms and conditions and privacy policies, including identity verification.
Vic Walia, MD of Party brands at Entain, said: “I am truly excited that all three of our Party brands are entering the Ontario market.
“Both recreational and professional players living in Ontario will be able to experience a world class gaming product across poker, casino and sports. As a Canadian and Toronto native myself, I am particularly proud of this moment in our company’s history,” he added.
Entain continues to strengthen its foothold in the Ontario market, with its MGM Resorts International joint venture business BetMGM being one of the first online brands to launch in the newly regulated province.
BetMGM expects to turn a profit in the US, its key market, by 2023, after reporting an EBITDA loss of some $440m for the full-year 2021.
In February, Entain also acquired Canada-facing operator Avid Gaming in a deal worth C$300m. Avid Gaming owns Sports Interaction, a leading Canadian online betting brand run by Mohawk Online, a digital subsidiary of the Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke and part of the Mohawk Online socioeconomic initiative.
Entain said the acquisition would drive growth in the country alongside its BetMGM, Bwin and Party brands, although Sports Interaction is unlikely to apply for a regulated operating licence.
Entain has promised to spend £100m on a new global innovation hub called Ennovate to explore metaverse entertainment projects in collaboration with leading tech firms.
Ennovate will provide the FTSE 100 operator with a platform from which to design and launch innovative NFT and virtual reality (VR) products and experiences across its portfolio of online gambling brands.
The first concept has been unveiled today (31 January) by partypoker, which Entain said will go live with an NFT collection to showcase some of the most iconic moments and tournament hands in the history of the brand.
This will be accompanied by the launch of unique digital avatars called PokerApes, tapping into the trend kickstarted by Bored Ape Yacht Club, a collection of 10,000 unique NFTs hosted on the Ethereum blockchain.
The partypoker NFTs have been developed in association with Theta Labs, a video delivery firm powered by blockchain and one of three tech companies working alongside Entain on the Ennovate project. The other two are Verizon and BT, which will focus on delivering the new technology via 5G connectivity.
Not-for-profit organisations are also collaborating with Ennovate, using technology for innovations which bring societal and environmental benefits. All external partners will collaborate with Entain’s own tech team and use the Ennovate Hub to conceive, develop, experiment, and launch their innovations.
“We want to lead the way with new, exciting products and experiences for customers and use our cutting-edge technology to pioneer innovations in sport, gaming and interactive entertainment for the metaverse,” said Entain CEO Jette Nygaard-Andersen.
“We also want to use our position as a global technology leader to help drive innovation more widely. Working with partners around the globe, Ennovate will demonstrate how Entain’s industry-leading technology can both revolutionise experiences for consumers and deliver real benefits to society,” she added.
Ennovate’s first dedicated innovation lab will be located in Farringdon – one of London’s tech hotspots – with £40m of the overall investment earmarked for UK-specific projects.
It will host on-site experimentation work involving around 50 full-time Entain developers and software engineers.
The London base will open in the spring and is being fitted with cutting-edge technology so that customers, investors and partners can trial new immersive gaming experiences.
This will include a virtual reality room and a VR multi-sports club experience, according to Entain, which could then be spun out into the operator’s retail estate later in the year.
The Ennovate hub will also serve as an accelerator and incubator of disruptive technology start-ups from the summer, with an initial commitment of £5m guaranteed by Entain.
“Our goal is to bring the most exciting experiences in immersive sport, gaming and interactive entertainment to life as the metaverse takes shape,” said Entain COO Sandeep Tiku.
“Working with partners we believe we can achieve great things faster, both for customers and to apply these technologies and skills to benefit wider society,” he added.
Justin Dellario, who is MD of esports at Entain following the operator’s undisclosed acquisition of Unikrn last year, is scheduled to speak at our iGaming NEXT New York City event in May.