Sports betting and gaming group Entain is spending £40 million ($54 million) to create an innovation hub in London to build and trial entertainment tech, the company announced Monday (Jan. 31).
The hub, called Ennovate, will come with an experience zone for people to try immersive experiences in sports, gaming and interactive entertainment.
The project will also reportedly be developing products for the metaverse, which refers to the virtual world where tech companies are building new commerce experiences, and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
The money for the Entain London hub will be part of a bigger £100 million ($135 million) investment in projects, startup investments and collaborations, per the announcement.
“We want to lead the way with new, exciting products and experiences for customers and use our cutting-edge technology to pioneer innovations in sport, gaming and interactive entertainment for the metaverse,” Entain CEO Jette Nygaard-Andersen said in the release.
Nygaard-Andersen said the company also wanted to drive more innovation elsewhere, working with companies around the globe.
Per the release, Ennovate will help Entain become a “global leader in interactive entertainment.” Entain has also partnered with several tech companies including Verizon, BT and Theta Labs, along with various accelerators and incubators.
The lab plans to open this spring in Charterhouse Square in Farringdon, which is close to the U.K. headquarters of social media firms TikTok and Snapchat.
PYMNTS reported last fall that Entain received a $20 billion acquisition offer from digital sports gaming company DraftKings, which caused Entain shares to go higher.
Entain confirmed the offer at that time, though the company said shareholders weren’t urged to take action. The company had already turned away MGM’s all-stock offer for $11 billion earlier in the year.
MGM would have to approve any deal for Entain’s U.S. assets – the companies co-own BetMGM, an online sports betting platform. Entain also owns U.K. poker and gambling companies Coral, Ladbrokes and PartyPoker.