Ladbrokes enters Spanish betting venture

London (Reuters) – Ladbrokes said on Monday it had entered a joint venture in Spain with the country’s leading slot machine company Cirsa Slot.

Ladbrokes said the joint venture would soon apply for some of the new five-year betting licences being offered in Madrid, which started opening up its gambling market last month.

The venture will also target other betting opportunities in the Spanish gambling market, which Ladbrokes estimated was worth 29 billion euros (19 billion pounds) last year.

„Sports betting is set to become an increasingly mainstream activity in Spain,“ said Cirsa Slot director Pablo Alcala.

Cirsa Slot accounts for 9 percent of the Spanish slot machine market, with 90 arcades and slot machines in over 15,000 other venues. It is part of Spain’s Cirsa Corporation, which also runs casinos and bingo halls.

Since splitting from its parent Hilton Group last February, Ladbrokes has increasingly targeted markets outside Britain, last month winning 142 betting licenses in Italy and currently in negotiations to buy Internet gaming group 888.

Ladbrokes shares rose 0.4 percent to 431-1/4 pence by 8:31 a.m., valuing the group at around 2.7 billion pounds.