Featured in this article:
  • Entain seeks to enter the metaverse
  • $133m investment in new VR and NFT technologies
  • Sports betting proving a big hit for Entain in America

4 Minute Read

Ennovate is Entain's new venture into the metaverse

The rapid expansion of online gambling in the United States has triggered a land grab in a multi-billion dollar industry that won’t just stop at sports betting.

These days sports betting is considered an entertainment option like video games and social media. What’s more, the development of NFTs and blockchain technology means these forms of entertainment are beginning to overlap each other.

Gamblers may be getting used to being able to wager on their phone, or buy a digital image of a Bored Ape, as an additional form of entertainment – but the very companies offering these products are also seeking to develop the next generation of gaming.

And Entain is at the front of this revolution. The UK-based gambling firm that owns brands such as Ladbrokes and Coral, and which has teamed up with MGM to launch BetMGM across America, is investing $133m into the metaverse in a project called Ennovate.

If you’re not sure what the metaverse is, think of it like a virtual reality landscape where you can meet other people, engage in forms of entertainment and even shop and gamble online, like you would on the highstreet.

Entain is pumping the Ennovate money into start-ups to develop NFT, virtual reality, esports and augmented reality technology.

Ennovate metaverse

The Ennovate metaverse will feature NFT markets, sports betting, virtual reality and augmented reality

“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 CEO Jette Nygaard-Andersen in a statement.

“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.”

Ennovate is expected to launch in London this March and Verizon, Theta Labs and British telecom firm BT are signed up as partners.

Why Is The Ennovate Metaverse So Important For Entain?

Entain is the seventh largest gambling company in the world and its limits aren’t even on the horizon yet.

The business has thrived in Europe, leading the way with innovative technologies in sports betting and casino gaming in the UK and Ireland, and adding to its portfolio with respected brands such as Coral and Ladbrokes.

And it was always going to look west eventually and seek to eat into the American market. The steady expansion of online betting licences across the US since 2018 has helped Entain – along with MGM – get a foothold in North America.

Both MGM and DraftKings have tried and failed to buy Entain since the expansion.

But technology is changing so fast that sports betting isn’t enough. Fans want further sources of entertainment and video games companies have been working on virtual reality for years.

Now gambling firms like Entain want in on the market and believe they can make profits by offering NFTs, sports betting, esports betting and many more products within the metaverse.

“Our goal is to bring the most exciting experiences in immersive sport, gaming and interactive entertainment to life as the metaverse takes shape,” said Sandeep Tiku, COO at Entain.

“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.”

Entain made profits of $1.5bn in the first six months of 2021 and so the sum allocated to its metaverse tech research does not put the company at risk.

However, it is enough for a firm like Entain to dip its toes in the water of the metaverse and see what it can find.

Arthur Crowson

Arthur Crowson writes for GambleOnline.co about the gambling industry. His experience ranges from crypto and technology to sports, casinos, and poker. He went to Douglas College and started his journalism career at the Merritt Herald as a general beat reporter covering news, sports and community. Arthur lives in Hawaii and is passionate about writing, editing, and photography.

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