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Boyd acquires tribal iGaming company Pala Interactive for $170M, advances online strategy

Gaming and hospitality business Boyd Gaming is acquiring California-based online gaming company Pala Interactive, the Nevada operator announced on Monday. The move is expected to advance Boyd’s iGaming strategy and drive growth within the segment.

The definitive agreement was carried out through Boyd Gaming Corporation’s wholly-owned subsidiary Boyd Interactive Gaming. The deal sees the company acquire Pala Interactive LLC —founded in 2013 by the Pala Band of Mission Indians— and its subsidiaries for total cash consideration of $170 million.

Boyd describes Pala Interactive as “an innovative online gaming technology company” providing proprietary real money and social gaming solutions on both a business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) basis in regulated markets across both the United States and Canada.

Pala Interactive’s technology includes its player account management system; casino; poker; and social casino and poker platforms. The business complements its iGaming platform with a full suite of managed services, and currently provides B2B services in eight states across the US as well as Canada, and operates B2C offerings in New Jersey and Canada. The acquisition comes after Pala Interactive recently received its Ontario Gaming Related Supplier (GRS) Manufacturer License, a key approval ahead of Ontario's iGaming market launch on April 4.

The acquisition of Pala Interactive marks the next phase in the ongoing execution of our iGaming strategy, providing us full control over the technology, development and customer experience,” said Keith Smith, President and Chief Executive Officer of Boyd Gaming.

The company expects that, by integrating online casinos with its existing land-based operations, it will be able to further leverage and monetize its expansive customer database and the amenities of its nationwide portfolio of properties, driving growth in both its land-based and iGaming operations.

“Given our nationwide geographic distribution, significant database and established loyalty program, it makes sense for us to pursue a direct approach with our iGaming operations,” continued Smith. “By engaging directly with our guests and having the ability to personalize the customer experience, we are confident in our ability to create a cost-effective and profitable regional iGaming business.”

The executive further explained that while the acquisition of Pala supports Boyd’s iGaming strategy, the company still remains “fully committed” to its partnership with FanDuel, which has allowed the Nevada business to participate “in the nationwide expansion of sports betting.”

“We look forward to welcoming the Pala Interactive team to our Company and building a highly successful online gaming business in the years ahead,” concluded Boyd Gaming’s CEO. The transaction is expected to close by Q1 of 2023, subject to customary closing conditions. It will be financed with a combination of cash on hand and Boyd’s existing credit agreement.

"Our tribe was at the forefront in creating an online gaming platform," said Robert Smith, Chairman of the Pala Band of Mission Indians. "We brought together the best minds in the business to build and ultimately transact, what has become a very successful business."

Jim Ryan, CEO of Pala Interactive, said: "This is the result of a considerable capital investment and lot of hard work by the Pala Tribe and Pala Interactive employees to build a modern-age online gaming platform and business tailored to the North American regulated gaming market. Boyd Gaming's acquisition of the Pala Interactive business, positions the enterprise for the next growth phase, which includes the development and execution of an iGaming strategy for Boyd Gaming and a continued commitment of investment and development in Pala's B2B business."


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