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Lockdowns hold Entain back despite surge in online gambling

Betting shops reopened on Monday following prolonged closures

Entain (LON:ENT), owner of Ladbrokes, has confirmed its revenue fell during Q1 as the closure of its betting shops outweighed an increase in online revenue.

While the FTSE 100 company’s net gaming revenue rose by a third during the first quarter ending on 31 March, its 21st consecutive quarter of digital growth, the firm’s overall revenue fell by 13%.

Entain’s storm, which includes Coral as well as Ladbrokes, have remained closed from January to March as a result of lockdowns in the UK.

Harry Barnick, senior analyst at Third Bridge commented on Entain’s results and outlook:

“With betting shops now open in the UK, Entain’s ability to capitalise on the barnstorming summer of sport will be viewed as essential to retail revenue recovery.” 

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“Investor sentiment will remain cautious whilst the Gambling Act review is underway in the UK.  This could lead to major revenue declines in the online channel as strict restrictions are placed on stake limits”. 

“The US market has grown faster than punters might have expected. Entain’s future growth now hinges on its ability to gain market share in this region. This will pose a significant challenge given the strong competition from DraftKings and FanDuel.”

Jette Nygaard-Andersen, chief executive of Entain, commented on what she described as a strange year while looking forward to normality when shops reopen.

“This has been another very successful and productive quarter with Entain making excellent progress across a number of our strategic priorities. This is testament to the hard work and dedication of our people across all aspects of our business. I am delighted that they will now have the opportunity to share in the future success of Entain through our new Share Save plan,” she said.

“We saw excellent growth across all our major markets other than Germany where regulatory changes have impacted the market. BetMGM continues to exhibit outstanding momentum with impressive market share growth. Our acquisitions of Bet.pt and Enlabs underpin further progress on our strategic expansion into new regulated markets.” 

“With some easing of Covid restrictions, we are delighted to be welcoming customers back into our shops. While it has only been a handful of days since the re-opening in parts of the UK on the 12 April, we look forward to returning to more normal trading across our whole business.”

Entain rejected a takeover approach from MGM Resorts International, its US partner, in January. MGM walked away after Entain said the proposal significantly undervalued its prospects.

Betting shops were allowed to open as of Monday this week following the prolonged closures.

Entain’s share price is up by 1.33% to 1,628p at 08:26 GMT.

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