UK betting group GVC holds joint venture talks with MGM Resorts

FILE PHOTO: A MGM Grand sign can be seen in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., October 2, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - British betting group GVC Holdings Plc, which owns the Coral, Ladbrokes and Sportingbet brands, said on Saturday it was in advanced talks about a joint venture with U.S. hotel and casino operator MGM Resorts.

“The Group can confirm that discussions are at an advanced stage regarding such a joint venture and will update the market when appropriate,” GVC said in a statement.

The group, which has grown rapidly through acquisitions including the purchase of Ladbrokes late last year, has been evaluating a number of opportunities to expand in the United States after the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this month paved the way to legalize sports betting.

Broadcaster Sky News reported that GVC and MGM Resorts - best known for Las Vegas brands such as the MGM Grand and Bellagio - would each put in an initial $100 million as part of a 50:50 joint venture focused on U.S. sports betting.

The venture would involve a 25-year commitment, with an option for either company to buy the other out after 10 years, Sky cited an unnamed source in London’s financial district as saying. The deal could also pave the way for a merger between the two firms, Sky said.

GVC representatives could not be immediately contacted for further comment.

Reporting by David Milliken, Editing by Clelia Oziel