Ladbrokes claimed £101.5m furlough cash regardless of on-line income – The Guardian

Bookmaker’s dad or mum firm benefited as households turned to on-line playing throughout lockdowns
Final modified on Fri 7 Jan 2022 08.23 EST
The bookmaker Ladbrokes has claimed almost £102m from the UK authorities’s furlough scheme, regardless of gross sales in on-line bets hovering in the course of the pandemic.
Based on accounts revealed at Firms Home, the corporate made claims of £57.5m in 2020. An extra £44m was claimed in 2021.

Ladbrokes is owned by the worldwide betting firm Entain, which loved big boosts in income in the course of the Covid-19 disaster as bored households turned to on-line playing and on line casino video games throughout lockdowns.
Late final 12 months, it was approached for a potential takeover, valuing the enterprise at about £16bn, though US rival Draftkings finally walked away.
The corporate’s betting outlets, which additionally embrace Coral, have been closed for lengthy durations throughout 2020 and missed out on revenues owing to sporting occasions being cancelled. Consequently, revenues for 2020 slumped from £983m to £681m.
Nevertheless, revenues for Entain over the identical interval hit £3.6bn – unchanged on the earlier 12 months – with pre-tax income of £114m.
Extra lately, the corporate revealed additional sturdy development in its international on-line betting and gaming enterprise, recording 23 consecutive months of rising revenues within the division.
All firms affected by the pandemic have been allowed to say from the federal government’s Covid furlough scheme.
Some corporations that claimed have subsequently returned the money after outcomes in the course of the interval proved higher than anticipated – notably for companies with sturdy on-line operations alongside shuttered excessive avenue operations. Nevertheless, Ladbrokes has declined to repay the furlough cash saved.
A spokesman for Entain stated: “The furlough scheme was a wise and extremely welcome coverage intervention that helped us, as one of many nation’s largest retailers, to keep up the livelihoods of greater than 14,000 retail colleagues on full pay.
“While the virus remains to be with us and the outlook, though bettering, remains to be removed from sure, the board will proceed to maintain the state of affairs underneath evaluate.”
Rival William Hill repaid £24.5m in furlough cash claimed, whereas the Paddy Energy proprietor Flutter didn’t make any claims for furlough money – though each have a smaller variety of websites than Ladbrokes and Coral.