US Bookmaking, which provides turn-key sports wagering operations for casinos — and which was the brainchild of founder, president, and longtime sportsbook impresario Victor Salerno — announced the sale of the company to Elys Game Technology, an interactive gaming and sports betting tech operation.
The deal, which was announced in a Wednesday morning press release, could be worth up to $50 million for the US Bookmaking team over the course of the next four years. In addition to Salerno, the US Bookmaking management team includes Bob Kocienski, CEO; John Salerno, director of operations; and Robert Walker, director of the sportsbook.
US Bookmaking began operations post-PASPA, with its first partnership in New Mexico with the Santa Ana Star Casino in Albuquerque. From there, the company added other casinos to its New Mexico roster, including Isleta Resort & Casino and Santa Claran Hotel & Casino.
US Bookmaking then went to Colorado to provide Sky Ute with its sportsbook, followed in quick succession with deals with the Odawa Tribe in Michigan and the 4 Bears Tribe in North Dakota.
Earlier this year, US Bookmaking inked a deal in Washington, D.C. for a sportsbook expected to open later in the year, and recently announced its first B2C deal, leasing a skin in Iowa.
“We started US Bookmaking with a vision to build a top ranked team of experienced bookmakers in light of the looming repeal of sports betting prohibition in the U.S.,” said Salerno. “Since 2018, our team and customer network have been building quickly and we are very optimistic about the expansion and growth opportunities developing in the U.S. sports betting market. We realized that to effectively compete and grow with this opportunity we needed a viable technology partner that knows the sports betting business extremely well.
“Having visited the Elys trading floor in Italy, we are very impressed with the work that the Elys team did to Americanize their sports betting technology. We believe the timing of this acquisition is ideal for USB since we have been vetting the technology field for the best sports betting technology while getting ready for the reopening of our clients as the COVID pandemic subsides. The addition of a proprietary sports betting platform will allow USB to customize features that our clients desire while having full control of our cost structure. We look forward to working with the Elys team to complete the transaction as quickly as possible.”
The deal is expected to close by July 15, and Elys will pay $12 million for US Bookmaking, 50% in cash and 50% in stock. Another $38 million is on the table, based upon certain EBITDA milestones over the next four years. That money would also be half-cash, half-stock.
“Our team at Elys has worked diligently to prepare our leading-edge platform for the booming opportunity in the U.S. market,” said Michele Ciavarella, the executive chairman of Elys Game Technology. “Our focus has been to ensure that our future U.S. clients are able to access a design-built solution for sports betting in the U.S. that is locally supported with comprehensive trading, risk management, operations, and maintenance teams for frictionless deployments. We are extremely pleased with the relationship that we developed with the founders and highly experienced team at USB during our negotiations and the extensive synergies that we believe the combined entities have. We found great commonality between the family culture that Elys fosters in its Italian operations, as with USB and its business operations spanning a number of states in the U.S. We believe that our Elys Gameboard technology will give USB the tools they need to rapidly expand their current U.S. footprint and potentially develop operations in the evolving Canadian sports betting market.”
For those not familiar with the world of legalized gambling in Italy, Elys is a B2B gaming technology company that also has a suite of B2C online and brick-and-mortar operations in the country.