Entain sees betting shop gambling bounce-back, but reveals online sales fall

·2 min read

Ladbrokes and Coral owner Entain has seen trading in its betting shops rebound close to pre-pandemic levels, but revealed online gambling revenues fell for the first time in over five years.

The group said online net gaming revenues fell 9% year on year in the final quarter of 2021.

The drop follows 23 quarters of double-digit growth in a row as it came up against strong trading a year earlier, when online gambling was boosted due to lockdown measures.

But Entain was bolstered by a 60% jump in revenues across its betting shops, with stores shut a year earlier due to the restrictions.

The group, which has around 2,700 betting shops in the UK, said year-on-year retail trading by volume had returned to within 10% of pre-pandemic levels.

Entain upped its full-year underlying earnings to between £875 million and £885 million, compared with a previous forecast of £850 million to £900 million.

The figures come after US betting firm DraftKings walked away from a £16 billion approach for Entain in October.

It marked the second time Entain has been eyed for takeover by a US rival over the past year, after US joint venture partner MGM saw a £8 billion move rebuffed.

UK betting firms have been heavily targeted by US rivals over the past year amid a rapid growth in sports betting across the US due to relaxing federal laws across many states.

Entain said its fourth quarter trading saw it deliver a 12% rise in full-year online gaming revenues.

Betting shop revenues were 3% lower as last year’s lockdown closures impacted the chain.

Jette Nygaard-Andersen, chief executive of Entain, said 2021 had been a “successful and eventful” year for the group.

“All of our major markets have performed well.

“BetMGM, our hugely exciting business in the US, has been a particular highlight with 2021 net gaming revenue ahead of expectations and an upgraded outlook for 2022.”

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