Home Estate Planning Entain hits record high online punters ahead of ‘significant’ UK regulations

Entain hits record high online punters ahead of ‘significant’ UK regulations

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Ladbrokes-owner Entain hit a record level of online customers last year as the globe’s betting boom showed no signs of slowing.

Net gaming revenues were up 11 per cent in 2023 compared to the year before, with underlying EBITDA climbing 1 per cent to £1.007bn.

The firm, which is currently led by interim CEO Stella David after the resignation of Jette Nygaard-Andersen in December of last year at the end of a probe into historic bribery issues in the Turkish market, saw total net gaming revenue up 14 per cent across the globe.

The firm warned of short-term negative, long-term positive impacts from what it called “significant” regulatory changes on the horizon.

UK parliamentarians are expected to bring in some controls around stake limits in online gaming and casinos.

“We look forward to the implementation of stake caps on online slot games and a potential agreement on uniform safer gambling measures across the market. While we expect these changes to be a positive for Entain in the long run, we may see continued player disruption over the short term, and with leading brands we may see opportunities for us to invest in marketing to grow market share,” the firm said in a statement to markets this morning.

That, combined with deposit limits expected to be introduced next year in the Netherlands, could reduce next year’s EBITDA by £40m, the Ladbrokes operator said.

Entain’s joint-venture in the US, Bet MGM, now has 14 per cent of the market share in sports betting and iGaming in the markets where it operates.

Market share is seen as a key metric in the growing US market; competitor 888 pulled out of the US yesterday, citing the cost of acquiring market share as a key reason.

Barry Gibson, Chairman of Entain, commented: “2023 was a period of necessary, but ultimately positive, transition for Entain. We have significantly strengthened the quality of our revenue base, enhanced our Board, and delivered a resolution to a critical, historic, regulatory issue.

We are making positive progress in our search for a new permanent CEO, and in the meantime Stella is driving the business as it continues to take appropriate actions to deliver changes to drive a better long term performance. We are also making good progress in adding to our Board strength – Ricky Sandler and Amanda Brown joined the Board in recent months and we expect to announce a further appointment shortly.

“As our transformation continues the newly formed capital allocation committee has commenced a review of Entain’s markets, brands and verticals. The objectives of the review are to help focus the organization, improve competitive positions and maximize shareholder value,” he said.

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