Entain raises forecast on back of outstanding first half

Sports betting performed strongly for Entain in the first half.
Sports betting performed strongly for Entain in the first half.

Entain has raised its earnings forecast for the year to between £850m and £900m as sports betting and retail revenue bounce back strongly.

UK.- The FTSE 100-listed gaming group Entain has revised its earnings forecast for the year after a much stronger than expected first half. It now expects full-year EBITDA of between £850m and £900m, up from £843.1m in 2020.

The group, which counts BetMGM, Bwin and Ladbrokes among its brands, saw net gaming revenue (NGR) rise 42 per cent year-on-year in the second quarter to an estimated £2.23bn. First-half revenue was up 11 per cent.

The group saw a surge in revenue from sports betting, which was partly expected due to the cancellation of sporting events in the same period last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The biggest increase in revenue was, logically, in retail sports betting, up 250 per cent year-on-year in the second quarter.

Online revenue rose by 22 per cent, the company said, again mainly due to an increase in sports betting, which saw revenue rise by 65 per cent while gaming revenue remained flat. Entain’s acquisitions of Enlabs and Bet.pt contributed 4 per cent of online revenue.

Growth was seen across all markets with the exception of Germany, which was affected by regulatory changes under the country’s transitional regime toward its new licensed market.

Entain noted that its US joint venture BetMGM was performing well, with NGR coming in at around $350m in the first half. BetMGM is now the second biggest sports betting and gaming operator in the US, with 21 per cent of the market.

CEO Jette Nygaard-Andersen said: “We have delivered another strong performance across the group. Our diversified business model has enabled us to grow our business in all key markets while navigating channel and product mix changes as retail re-opens and we annualise last year’s restricted sports calendar.

“Outside Germany where the market is digesting regulatory changes, we saw excellent growth across all our major markets. Our recent acquisitions, Bet.pt in Portugal and Enlabs in the Baltics, have performed ahead of expectations, and BetMGM continues to grow market share in the US, now at 24% across our active markets.

“We have a powerful platform at Entain that enables us to deliver consistent growth from our existing markets, whilst also entering new markets, all powered by our industry leading technology capabilities, business intelligence and analytics.

“Our platform provides us with a significant opportunity to align our business better with our customers and increasingly deliver a wider breadth of exciting products, content and experiences as the worlds of media, entertainment and gaming converge.”

Entain invests in in-house game studios

Meanwhile, Entain has announced that it will double investment in its in-house game studios to accelerate content development for several markets, including the UK, the Baltics and the US. Content will include free-to-play slot tournaments.

Nygaard-Andersen said: “Increasing our investment across all three of our in-house games studios will provide more of that for our customers across all our global brands.

“By widening our offer with new and exclusive games, such as free-to-play tournaments, we give existing and new customers more reasons to use our products. This not only helps to grow our business but brings fresh insight, so we can further improve the offer for our customers.”

Last month, Entain made a series of new C-level additions as it aims to add media and tech knowledge. It appointed Sameer Deen as chief strategy officer and president of new ventures.

It also brought on board Joe Simon as chief information officer and Kathleen Radford as director of innovation experience.

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