The Betsson brand brings over five decades of experience with it to the table, having started out as a company back in 1963. This led to it becoming one of the top sportsbooks around the world, and once it started operating online as well, it entered into the realms of casino gaming and more. Over its years of activity, Betsson has been the recipient of multiple awards, further highlighting its prowess within the industry. Today, the company continues to offer its sports betting and casino gameplay via gaming licences secured from 19 jurisdictions.
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An In-Depth Look at Betsson
The Betsson AB company can trace its roots all the way back to the early 1960s. It was in ’63 that Bill Lindwall and Rolf Lundström united their minds to form AB Restaurang Rouletter. That company was later renamed to Cherryföretagen AB (Cherry), which offered slot gaming machines to restaurants across Sweden. The company continued on in this way for many years, with little competition coming forth in the country to bother it.
As 1998 rolled around though, Cherry bought a small share in the Net Entertainment software company – a brand co-founded with Investment AB Kinnevik, which was tasked with developing solutions for online gaming. That company goes by the name of Netent today, and the remainder of the shares held by Kinnevik in Net Entertainment were acquired by Cherry in 2000. Through this deal, Kinnevik also became the largest shareholder of Cherry.
Pontus Lindwall, the son of co-founder Bill, returned to the company in 2003, serving as the CEO of Cherry. It was at this stage that it bought into Betsson, which was founded by Henrik Bergquist, Anders Holmgren and Fredrik Sidfalk. At the time, the brand had a gaming licence in England, before it later went on to acquire one of the same from the Malta Gaming Authority. Three years later, Cherryföretagen altered its name to Betsson. Within the business sector of Cherry was a traditional gaming operation, which merged into a new group going by the name of Cherryföretagen (later on, the name would once again be shorted to Cherry). This group launched its own online sector, basing itself out of Malta.
Lindwall continued as CEO of the company until 2016, when Ulrik Bengtsson took over the position. Pontus remained active within Betsson as Chairman of the Board, though. Yet Bengtsson only lasted one year, stepping down as CEO, only to be replaced by Lindwall once again. This brought Patric Svensk into the position of Chairman of the Board. It was also in 2016 that the company’s free mobile app for the Apple Store was launched, with poker and virtual sports being added through updates in later months. An Android app has also been developed by BML Group Ltd.
The company continued operating in a highly adaptable way for several years, until in May of 2021, it was announced that Betsson planned to launch in the country of Greece. In order to do this, it obtained two licences from the Hellenic Gaming Commission. It was also in this month that the brand went on to partner up with a Norwegian Toppserien women’s football club in Avaldsnes IL.
It was also in 2021 that Betsson expanded even further, launching in Mexico via a partnership with Big Bola Casinos. It also agreed to a deal in which it would become a regional sponsor of the 2021 Copa América international men’s football championship organised by the CONMEBOL of South America. Betsson acquired branding rights through the unison.
Furthermore, Betsson continued expanding its operations throughout Eastern Europe, launching its brand new Europebet branch with an office located in Minsk, Belarus. Under the brand, casino games, sports betting options and poker possibilities began being offered.
While Lindwall accomplished the task of getting Betsson back on the right track, he announced his decision to step down from the position of CEO in 2021. He remains active in the role until a new CEO can be found.
In 2022, Betsson also debuted its services in Buenos Aires city and province, utilising a link with local operator Casino Victoria in order to do so.
Throughout the years, Betsson AB has crafted and launched a number of subsidiaries via its head office in Malta. A deal was forged with Scout Gaming in 2017, which allowed it to integrate the Scout daily fantasy sports platforms across all of the Betsson brands. This included the UK-facing online sportsbook, BetSafe.
Acquisitions by Betsson
Betsson has built itself up to a credible company throughout its years of operation, and this has also been achieved via its acquisition of other brands and companies. Many of these takeovers and partnerships occurred in more recent years but take a look at them in more detail below to discover everything surrounding them.
- 2011 – Company acquires all shares in the BetSafe Group for SEK292 million (£23.8 million). The acquisition increases Betsson’s market presence and enables it to grow even more. Through it, the number of customers utilising Betsson’s products increased to around 419,000, outdoing Unibet in terms of active players.
- 2014 – Betsson reportedly pays €100 million to acquire Oranje Casino and Kroon Casino in the Netherlands via its acquisition holding company Class One Holding Ltd.
- 2017 – In March, Betsson completed a £26 million takeover of assets from NetPlay TV. This allowed it to add SuperCasino, Jackpot247 and Vernons into its portfolio of European gaming brands.
- 2020 – Betsson acquired the B2C assets of Gaming Innovation Group for €77 million. This brings the online brands Guts, Kaboo, Rizk and Thrills under the operation of Betsson.
- 2021 – A deal for $25 million (£19.9 million) sees Betsson acquire Inkabet via its subsidiary SW Nordic Limited. Included within the deal is a necessity for Betsson providing a $4 million (£3.1 million) performance incentive if Inkabet managed to outperform EBIT targets.
- 2021 – A 28% share of the Canadian start-up known as Slapshot Media Inc. is acquired in August for a price of $2.4 million (£1.9 million).
Any Fines or Sanctions?
Betsson may have increased its presence in the online and offline gambling worlds, but this hasn’t been such an easy ride for the company. Instead, it has suffered through one or two large problems and penalties in its active years. Take a look at some of these below.
- 2018 – Betsson was hit with a €300,000 penalty by the Dutch regulatory body, Kannsspelautoriteit (KSA) for offering online gambling to Dutch citizens without a licence. Betsson appealed the fine but lost out.
- 2020 – In January, Jackpot247 issued emails to all customers advising them that a data breach had been experienced. This message informed players that an unauthorised person had gained access to some registered users’ personal data. Users were advised to reset passwords, and were told that all payment information and copies of documents sent in to Jackpot247 had not been accessed and remained secure.
- 2020 – In May, the Gambling Supervisory Authority in Lithuania fined Betsson’s BetSafe €25,000 for advertisements that incentivised gambling.
- 2020 – The Swedish Spelinspektionen regulatory body fined Betsson SEK20 million (£1.7 million) in June for breaches of the Gambling Act. Spelinspektionen said that the company had been selling vouchers used to top up online player accounts via local convenience stores, which is contrary to the law. Betsson appealed the fine, and the Administrative Court reduced this to SEK14 million (£1.1 million) in December. By June 2021, the fine was dismissed altogether.
- 2021 – The company received a warning in July from the Norwegian Gambling Authority, ordering it to stop providing its services within Norway. Offering online poker and gaming is against the law in Norway to non-state-owned companies, and Betsson was instructed to close its websites there.
Betsson has been operating at a high level throughout the years, and it remains in firm control of this even today. The company’s profits have helped it to grow considerably. Take a look at some information from Betsson’s end of year report marked January 1 to December 31, 2021.
- The group revenue for the full year was SEK6,672.3 million (£545,686,210 million). This served as an increase of 4% year on year, and an organic increase of 10%.
- The operating income (EBIT) stood at SEK1,193.7 million (£97,592,207 million), marking an increase of 6%.
- The company’s net income was SEK1,054.4 million (£86,162,684 million).
Office Locations for Betsson
The Betsson brand is active around the world, and it is this that has also led to its increased growth and reputation. Some of the offices that Betsson holds are in the following places:
- Bogotá, Colombia
- Stockholm, Sweden
- Athens, Greece
- Denver, Colorado, USA
- Zagreb, Croatia
- Sao Paulo, Brazil
- Vilnius, Lithuania
- Tbilisi, Georgia
- Mexico City, Mexico
- Ta’ Xbiex, Malta
- Tallinn, Estonia
- Budapest, Hungary
- Buenos Aires, Argentina