July 8 (Reuters) – UK gaming firm Entain (ENT.L) is doubling its investment in gaming development studios as it intensifies its focus on online betting after closing hundreds of gaming stores. ‘betting on the street.
Entain, owner of brands such as Ladbrokes, bwin and Coral, will announce moves later on Thursday, including doubling the staff in its in-house studios in the UK, Italy and India, to around 300.
Newly named chief executive Jette Nygaard-Andersen said original online content would be a key part of her strategy for the company, comparing her efforts to finding Netflix’s original programming (NFLX.O ) to attract subscribers.
“We want to offer customers a wider choice in the markets we are already in and add new experiences to reach new customers,” he told Reuters.
The closure of hundreds of Ladbrokes retail stores, which for decades have been a well-known part of British streets, is a symbol of the industry’s constant shift to the network, which has deepened for 18 months.
Entain, which added 4 million customers online last year, is also moving from the collapse earlier this year of a purchase by US casino operator MGM Resorts International (MGM.N ) after the two parties differed in valuations.
The firm FTSE-100 did not disclose how much it was investing, but said the new content would include free slot tournaments and a sports-themed virtual reality product to be launched later this year.
Entain is also looking to develop gaming products for e-sports fans, many of whom are millennials, in addition to looking at other new markets, Nygaard-Andersen said.
“We’re looking at around 50 markets that are being fully regulated that we could enter, in addition to the ones we’re in now,” he said.
Reports from Muvija M to Bengaluru; Edited by Patrick Graham and Maju Samuel
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