LeoVegas Adds Esports to Portfolio With Majority Stake Purchase
Global leaders in the sports betting industry are taking not of esports. This week, LeoVentures, the investment company behind LeoVegas, purchased a majority stake in the esports betting site Pixel.bet. The company plans to expand its esports betting across Europe.
The Stockholm-listed LeoVegas announced the deal on Thursday, which includes 51 percent stake in the Malta-based “mobile-first” esports betting platform. The acquisition is reported at $1.7 million and is expected to close before the end of the current quarter.
Pixel.bet is a startup that only debuted earlier this year. The company appears to have plotted the acquisition by focusing on Sweden and other Nordic markets since its launch. According to Eirik Kristiansen, CEO of Pixel.bet, they chose LeoVentures because it has a unique understanding of their passion for esports.
LeoVentures said it does not expect the investment to have a major impact on its financial position. A LeoVentures partner described Pixel.bet as a passionate team of entrepreneurs, noting that they all come from the community they now serve with esports betting.
LeoVegas Group CEO Gustaf Hagman said Pixel.bet will give the company unique insights into the rapidly growing esports segment. The company has been working to diversify from casino games in recent months.
The acquisition is among the first major gambling industry investments in esports. It follows the footsteps of bookmaker Pinnacle, which pioneered the esports betting back in 2010. By the middle of 2017, Pinnacle had taken more than five million esports wagers. Pinnacle now helps other betting platforms get into esports with a B2B platform.