Kindred Group Plc has reaffirmed its market-leading position within Belgium by agreeing to acquire Rank Group subsidiary Blancas NV for a total valuation of £25 million (cash and debt-free basis).
Blancas NV is the operating firm of the ‘Casino Blankenberge’ located in the Belgium Flemish province of West Flanders and functions as one of nine casinos allowed by the Belgium Gambling Commission (BGC).
Updating investors, Kindred stated that the acquisition has been undertaken to ‘solidify the group’s long-term operations and commitments within Belgium’ allowing Kindred to continue to offer an attractive broad offering to Belgian customers.
Under 2011 amendments attached to Belgium’s ‘Gambling Act’, full online gambling licences can only be maintained if an operator is secured by a ‘principal land-based regional partner’.
Blancas NV has served as Kindred Group’s regional partner since 2012, helping flagship brand Unibet to maintain its ‘Belgium A+ Licence’, and therefore allowing the firm to operate online sportsbook, casino and poker services.
Though contested by igaming operators at a European-level for restricting business services, Belgium’s government continues to maintain its Gambling Act licence requirements.
Kindred has maintained a leading Belgium market presence since 2005, undertaking its first European acquisition of domestic betting incumbent MrBookmaker for £80 million.
“The acquisition demonstrates Kindred’s long-term commitment towards the Belgian market and gives Kindred direct access to one of the nine casino licenses, which allows Kindred to continue to offer a broad offering to its Belgian customers,” said Kindred in its statement.
Blancas NV will be operated as a separate entity within the Kindred Group under the leadership of the current management team led by Dominique De Wilde.