08.12.2023

by Antoni Majewski

Entain’s Compliance Journey: Navigating Regulatory Challenges

Entain, a prominent player in the global gaming industry, has recently entered into a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

This agreement, coming in the wake of bribery-related offenses by its former Turkey-facing business, involves a significant financial commitment from Entain, totaling $737.5 million. Additionally, Entain is required to make a charitable donation of $25 million and cover $12.5 million in costs for HMRC and the CPS.

Regulatory Compliance: A Key Focus

A crucial aspect of the DPA involves Entain ceasing operations in markets that are unregulated with respect to gambling. Clauses 32 and 33 of the DPA stipulate that Entain must withdraw from these markets within 12 months following the exit date of the DPA. This move aligns with Entain’s strategy to focus on regulated markets, even though it currently operates in a few regions like Brazil, Chile, Peru, and Mexico, where iGaming legalization is under consideration.

EU Laws: A Shield for Operations in Austria and Finland

Interestingly, due to specific EU laws, Austria and Finland are exempt from these clauses, allowing Entain to maintain its operations and offer products to local players in these countries.

Possibility of Postponing the Exit Date

Entain has the option, as per Clause 33 of the DPA, to request a postponement of its exit date if it can provide a valid reason. This clause becomes particularly relevant if there are reasonable grounds to believe that the regulation process in a given market will be completed soon after the exit date. This provision might be beneficial for Entain in markets like Brazil, where there are signs of progress in legalizing betting and iGaming.

Entain must keep the CPS regularly informed about its position in various markets, market exits, and any potential regulatory changes. Moreover, should Entain be acquired by another entity within the next four years, the new owner will be responsible for ensuring compliance with the obligations outlined in the DPA.

Our Comment on the Article

Entain’s situation highlights the complex interplay between global business operations and varying national regulatory frameworks. The company’s commitment to exit unregulated markets under the DPA reflects a growing trend in the gaming industry towards prioritizing regulatory compliance and ethical business practices. The nuanced exceptions for Austria and Finland, due to EU laws, further illustrate the intricate nature of international gaming regulations.

Entain’s potential to extend its exit date in certain markets underscores the dynamic and evolving landscape of iGaming legislation worldwide. This scenario serves as a reminder of the importance of adaptability and proactive engagement with regulatory bodies for businesses operating in this sector.

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