Global gaming company Entain looks to compete in metaverse, immersive gambling

A Ladbrokes betting shop, operated by Entain Plc, in London, U.K., on Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021.

Chris J. Ratcliffe | Bloomberg | Getty Images

In a crowded gambling landscape, technology increasingly gives operators an edge.

Global sports betting and gaming company Entain said Monday it is launching Ennovate, an innovation lab aimed developing immersive sports and entertainment experiences in the metaverse.

Entain plans to invest 100 million pounds ($133 million) to fund start-ups and develop applications for nonfungible tokens, virtual reality and augmented reality. As part of this effort, new products will be tested in two retail experience zones, or VR arcades, by consumers.

“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.

Verizon, British telecom firm BT and Theta Labs are partnering with Entain on Ennovate. It’s expected to launch in March in London.

Entain, formerly known as GVC Holdings, owns brands like Ladbrokes and Coral, and is a partner with MGM Resorts in Bet MGM.