Totalizator Sportowy seeks control of Casinos Poland


Polandโ€™s state-run gambling operator Totalizator Sportowy (TS) is looking to expand into land-based casino operations by acquiring local operator Casinos Poland.

On Wednesday, Polish media reported that TS, which has a monopoly on Polish lottery, land-based slots halls and online casino operations, was looking to acquire a majority stake in Casinos Poland, which operates eight land-based gaming venues in the country.

Colorado-based Century Casinos currently holds a two-thirds stake in Casinos Poland, and a TS spokesperson confirmed that TS was looking to acquire these shares from Century. The spokesperson played coy with the details, but said the process was โ€œat the stage of due diligence and work on transaction documentation (including a sales contract).โ€

TS has submitted an application to Polandโ€™s Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) to ensure the state voices no objections to TS expanding into the land-based casino market. The company already operates a slots hall monopoly with hundreds of venues across Poland.

This is the second time that TS has attempted to acquire control of Casinos Poland, having secured UOKiKโ€™s permission in 2011 to buy two-thirds of the casino operator. But that deal was scuppered by Century, which at the time held the other one-third in Casinos Poland and exercised its veto power over the sale. Century acquired its additional one-third in Casinos Poland just two years later.

Century, which derived about 4% of its Q3 earnings from Casinos Poland, has yet to publicly comment on the TS overture. All Polish casinos are currently closed due to COVID-19 but are scheduled to reopen on January 18.

Polandโ€™s biggest casino operator is the ZPR media group, which operates dozens of Polish venues under its Cristal Casino brand. ZPR has also yet to weigh in on how it feels about the government horning in on its territory.

TS recently celebrated its 65th anniversary by hiring Polish football great Robert Lewandowski as its new brand ambassador. TS also recently extended its lottery platform deal with International Game Technology (IGT) through 2028 with an option to extend that pact through 2031.

Among IGTโ€™s new responsibilities are upgrading TSโ€™ interactive lottery systems by adding new functionalities and games to the Lotto.pl site. TS also enjoys an online casino monopoly through the Playtech-powered Total Casino site, which almost immediately after its December 2018 launch became one of TSโ€™ top earnings contributors.