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Gaming Commission approves licensing of BetMGM partner Entain

The Nevada Gaming Commission on Thursday unanimously approved a gaming license for London-based Entain Plc, MGM Resorts International’s 50-50 partner in its BetMGM sports wagering operation.

Entain was once an acquisition target of MGM, but the company this month confirmed that buying Entain is no longer on its radar.

The licensing included suitability and key employee licensure of several executives, including CEO Jette Nygaard-Andersen, who appeared before commissioners and will become a member of BetMGM’s governing board.

Commissioners questioned executives about being fined $20.4 million in August by Great Britain’s Gambling Commission for social responsibility and anti-money-laundering failures. But commissioners were satisfied that the company has modified its compliance procedures, particularly regarding its relationship with BetMGM.

MGM, in January 2021, offered $11 billion to buy Entain, but the offer was rejected. Analysts expected a bidding war to ensue, but in MGM’s fourth-quarter earnings call earlier this month, CEO Bill Hornbuckle said the door has closed on any deal.

“The simple answer on Entain is no, we’ve moved on,” Hornbuckle said during the call. “While we remain highly focused on BetMGM’s business through our partnership with Entain and making sure that that business continues to grow,” the company will seek other options through its $607 million acquisition of Swedish online gaming company LeoVegas.

Thursday’s meeting was the first for newly appointed Northern Nevada Gaming Commissioner Brian Krolicki, who has replaced Ben Kieckhefer. Kieckhefer was named Gov. Joe Lombardo’s chief of staff.

Krolicki formerly served as state treasurer and lieutenant governor.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

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