If you go back in time to the days of land-based gambling, things were a lot different. Physical casinos were often owned by a single company or operator. If a company did own several venues, they would usually operate under the same name. You can see that in action today still, with land-based casinos like Grosvenor. If you fast-forward to the online gaming world of today though, this may be different.
There is an unlimited amount of space for casinos in the online sphere. This means that casinos can open up all over the place. Many casinos will come under the ownership of one specific company. In essence, different operators are responsible for groups of casino sites.
While this doesn’t matter when it comes to your gaming activity, it’s interesting to know about. You may see some online sites that have a distinctive design specific to one brand. You will be able to understand which casino websites come from which company. There are some people who like casinos from a specific brand. Other times, you may be looking to avoid joining a site coming from a particular operator. Whatever the case may be, it can be ideal to know which companies own which casinos.
In 2004, Gaming VC Holdings launched in Luxembourg. Six years later, it became known as GVC Holdings. Another 10 years after that, it rebranded to become Entain, which is how it remains today. In 2021, the company introduced a new female boss and updated itself to help settle shareholder jitters.
The company has gone through a series of big deals throughout the years. For example, back in 2017, GVC Holdings purchased Ladbrokes and Coral. That deal was worth about £4 billion altogether. Within one year, it also reached a deal with MGM Resorts. This allowed it to enter into the U.S. market. A few years later, MGM even offered to buy Entain for $11 billion. Yet the company declined the buyout deal, feeling it was worth more than that.
Entain owns both sports betting businesses and online casinos under its umbrella. The top casinos/gaming sites that it operates up in the UK include:
- Gala Bingo
- Gala Casino
- Gala Spins
- Foxy Bingo
- Foxy Games
- Cheeky Bingo
- Ninja Casino
This brand has also gone through a series of acquisitions outside of the UK. August of 2021 saw it get its hands on the U.S. eSports betting company Unikrn for £50 million. By February of the following year, it announced it had acquired Sports Interaction. Avid Gaming sold the Canadian brand to Entain for £175 million. Later that same year, it bought the Croatian sports betting company SuperSport. Plus, at the beginning of 2023, it completed the €450 million takeover of Dutch company BetCity.
Entain has its headquarters in the Isle of Man and holds licences to operate in over 18 countries. More than 2,800 people work for the company, too. It’s little wonder that it exists as one of the biggest casino operators in the UK.
This company has gone through quite the series of changes since it launched. It formed from the merger of Paddy Power and Betfair agreed upon in 2015. At this point, it went by the name of Paddy Power Betfair Plc. That merger completed in 2016. It was in March of 2019 that an announcement noted its intent to rebrand as Flutter Entertainment. Flutter served as the original name of a betting exchange acquired by Betfair in 2001.
The company is not only about sports betting, though. It also operates in the casino gaming world. Separate brands operate across the United Kingdom, Ireland and Italy. It has four divisions as well – online, retail, Australia and the United States. Its online division comprises Paddy Power and Betfair. Those sites serve the UK and Ireland. Both of those sites provide gamblers with sports betting and casino gameplay. Sky Betting and Gaming, as well as PokerStars, are other companies that come under the Flutter umbrella.
Flutter, like Entain, has also bought various companies abroad. This includes a share in U.S. company FanDuel. It created the world’s largest online gambling company in 2019 with its takeover of The Stars Group. The Canadian gambling operator accepted a $6.95 billion deal for it. Then, it acquired Italy’s largest online games provider, Sisal Gaming, for €1.913 billion in 2021.
Founded in 1997 by two Israeli entrepreneurs, this company began life as Virtual Holdings Ltd. Its very first website, Casino-on-Net, launched in the same year. Reef Club Casino and Pacific Poker opened their doors online in 2002. It was one year later that the company’s administrative centre moved to Gibraltar from Antigua. You know a company is doing well for itself when it gets listed on the London Stock Exchange. That’s what happened in 2005.
It was also by this time that the company owned several subsidiaries and brands. By early 2006, it began to bring them all together into one – 888.com.
The three main brands provided by the 888 Holdings company are:
- 888 Casino
- 888 Poker
- 888 Sport
Yet over the years, it has acquired and/or launched new online gaming sites. This includes the following platforms for casino gameplay:
- William Hill
- Mr Green
- Wink Bingo
The company acquired William Hill most recently. This, it bought from Caesars Entertainment for £2.2 billion. It doesn’t include the whole brand. Instead, the takeover is of all William Hill UK assets. and it now owns all physical betting shops from this brand across the UK.
The Rank Group
The Rank Group takes responsibility for the UK’s Grosvenor casinos. It also operates Mecca Bingo and Rank Interactive, with the latter being its online gaming sphere. Founded in 1995, it had a big presence in the motion picture industry. As the 21st century progressed, it began selling various leisure holdings off. This included Pinewood Studios and the Odeon cinema chain, too. Rank also sold off its nightclub division, Rank Entertainment. Its interest in Universal Studios Florida followed.
It was in December of 2005 that Rank rid itself of its final motion picture link, selling Deluxe Film. From that point on, Rank Group has had a focus on the gambling world. It acquired the Blue Square betting business in 2003, which helped it with its online activity. It also purchased 19 casinos from Gala Coral in 2013 for £179 million. This made the brand the country’s largest casino operator. The Blue Square interactive part of the company was then sold to Betfair in 2013.
Today, the digital side of Rank Group’s activities include:
Rank also maintains its Grosvenor Casino venues in the United Kingdom. At the same time, it has a slew of Mecca Bingo venues, and Enracha venues in Spain.
Starting out in 1997, the Kindred Group began life as Unibet Group Plc. The company has its prime headquarters in Malta. Yet major hub offices exist in London, Gibraltar and Stockholm, as well as the USA. It exists today as the home to nine gambling brands. They are:
- Maria Casino
- Vlad Cazino
It was in 2016 that the Unibet Group rebranded to become Kindred. This signified a change in the company’s focus on developing a multi-brand strategy. One year later, it acquired the 32Red business, having bought StanJames.com in 2015. The company has also entered into a partnership with the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City.
What About White Label Providers?
There is a chance that you have heard of white label casinos before. Yet you may not be familiar with what these are. Allow us to illuminate you.
A white label casino is a company that sets up the framework of an online casino site. It then hires this out to other companies for them to use. That framework is usually designed in a way that allows for easy insertion of a brand’s logo etc. They can also insert different casino games. The difference is that they don’t have to start out from scratch with the design of the site. The white label has done this for them.
Several companies in the United Kingdom exist as white label brands. They’re popular with brands for several reasons. This includes:
- Inclusion of a UK licence
- Ease of setting up
- Simple to market to players
- Easy to manage via framework
- Low start-up costs
Yet there are also certain negatives to using white label companies. A high revenue share is one such issue, and limited control of the general website. The white label sector is also very competitive today. So, many of these companies providing frameworks will close down as a result. Many brands can look very much like clones of others from the same operator, too. That’s because the only thing that an operator can adjust is the branding.
Some of the main, and biggest, white label casino providers include:
- White Hat Gaming – The biggest white label provider in the industry, providing a selection of casinos already. White Hat offers a modular process, so casinos can pick and choose what options and features they want. Casinos under the White Hat white label include Dream Vegas, 666 Casino, Spin Rider, Slot Planet, and others.
- Every Matrix – This white label provides a number of products for sports, poker and bingo, as well as casino. CasinoEngine runs the casino platform, featuring over 1,000 games from big-name developers. Casinos on its roster include Casino Wishes, Mr Win and Fantasino.
- Aspire Global – This company has been around since 2005, being one of the leaders in the sector. It brings knowledge and expertise to the forefront, and more than 20 casinos use its framework. They include Pirate Spin Casino, Goliath Casino, Mr Play, and more.
- Nektan Gaming – As far as UK casinos go, Nektan is the biggest, featuring around 38 utilising the framework. It caters to European and U.S. online casinos, too. Games from brands like Blueprint and Realistic exist on its platform.
- ProgressPlay – There is a separate alternative for desktop casinos to mobile casinos through this white label. The latest HTML5 technology is on hand for mobile options. Around 45 UK-based casinos use ProgressPlay, such as Fable, Jackpot Paradise, and more.
- PairPlay – This brand reports around £2 million in revenue every month, including a diverse collection of games on its platform. Some casinos associated with PairPlay include Big Thunder Slots, Slots Animal and Mega Reel Casino.
Casino Super Groups Abroad
There is a series of gambling companies around the world who are big news in the industry. These own vast empires of casinos, both land-based and online in many cases. You can see some of these supergroups below.
- Caesars Entertainment – Founded in 1996, Caesars has its headquarters in Reno, Nevada, USA. Operating at first as Eldorado Resorts, it rebranded in 2020 with the acquisition of Caesars. Around 23,000 people work for the company around the globe. It possesses several brands, including Harrah’s, Eldorado, Tropicana, and more.
- Las Vegas Sands – This company started operating in 1988, founded by Sheldon Adelson. His vision allowed Las Vegas Sands to kick things off on the Vegas Strip. Yet it has opened for business in the gambling realm that is Macau. It ended up selling its Las Vegas properties in 2021, following revenue dips due to the pandemic. This hasn’t stopped it from remaining a powerhouse in the gambling scene, though.
- Genting Group – This company is one of the largest global gambling businesses, based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Founded in 1965, it has a focus on establishing physical presence around the world. Already, it has such in locations like Malaysia, the UK, Hong Kong, Singapore, the USA, and more. After the relaxing of COVID-19 measures in 2021, the company’s revenue hit $2.85 billion.
- Wynn Resorts – Even though this company was only founded in 2002, it holds a significant presence. With a strong domestic setup in the USA, it operates state-of-the-art venues in Las Vegas. Wynn Las Vegas and Encore Las Vegas are two of these, as is Encore Boston Harbor. Again, Wynn has a presence in Macau, with two casinos active there. Owner Steve Wynn even offered to buy Crown Resorts in Australia back in 2019. The company is also pushing its WynnBET brand for iGaming purposes.
- MGM Resorts – Another Las Vegas-based company, MGM employs around 83,000 people around the world. It is one of the veteran brick-and-mortar casino companies. Some of the most impressive properties belong to this massive brand. This includes the MGM Grand Garden Arena, Mandalay Bay, Luxor, and Excalibur. It has also ventured into the online world of gaming. This came as part of a joint venture with Entain, known as Roar Digital.