UK-listed online gaming operator GVC Holdings said Thursday that the company’s newly established joint venture with Betit Securities has been granted approval by Malta’s Lotteries and Gaming Authority.

The JV, announced earlier this month, is part of a strategic initiative to boost the company’s presence in the Scandinavian online gaming market.

The new business will operate as Betit Holdings, GVC paying an initial €3.5m for a 15 per cent stake in the JV and a place on Betit’s board.

In a statement this morning, GVC confirmed that its JV had now been granted approval by Malta’s gambling regulator, the Lotteries and Gaming Authority.

Following the approval, GVC has now made its upfront commitment of €3.5m to Betit.

Included in the deal is a call option for GVC to acquire the balance of outstanding shares for a minimum price of €70m. The call option can be exercised no earlier than July 1st 2017, and no later than September 30th of that year.

The actual price of the remaining shares will be determined by the split of revenues between regulated and unregulated markets, with certain multiples attached.

Shares in GVC Holdings plc (Co. Data) (AIM:GVC) gained 1.66 per cent to 447.30 pence per share in London Thursday following the announcement.