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.”