Entain warns of £40m hit to 2024 earnings from regulatory pressures

Finance News

Entain swung to a huge £878 million loss, mostly due to one-off items. The biggest of those was its settlement of a long-running bribery case related to a since-closed Turkish subsidiary and executives that are no longer with the firm. 

Year to date, the Group is trading in line with expectations. In Brazil we are seeing early signs of benefits from the improvements we initiated through 2023, and in the US, BetMGM’s nationwide app is now live in Nevada and we look forward to introducing Single Account Single Wallet (“SASW”) functionality in the state later this year as well as delivering further product improvements.

As we look ahead for the balance of the year, we expect significant regulatory changes in two of our larger markets:

In the UK, we are delighted to see the long-awaited regulatory review draw closer to conclusion. 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.

In the Netherlands the KSA has recently proposed tighter deposit limits from Q2 2024 which have the potential to impact 2024 EBITDA

As a result, we expect that, in aggregate, these dynamics could reduce FY24 EBITDA by approximately £40m.

We continue to deliver on our refocused strategic priorities and are making clear strides in identifying and executing product and technology developments to improve customer acquisition and retention. Project Romer remains on track, to simplify our operations, improve efficiency and deliver £70m of net run rate cost savings by 2025.

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.”

Stella David, Interim CEO of Entain, commented:  “2023 presented a number of challenges for the Group, both industry-wide and Entain-specific. I am extremely proud of how our people around the world came together to navigate the business through an eventful and at times difficult year. Against that backdrop, Entain was still able to deliver overall revenue growth of 14% including our US joint venture achieving revenue at the top end of expectations.

We have started the new financial year with a clear plan to accelerate our operational strategy, and are making pleasing progress across a range of initiatives to re-focus our market portfolio, prioritise organic growth, drive our share in the US, and expand our margins. We are entirely focused on operational excellence and outstanding execution and, as a result, are confident that we are on a pathway to delivering future growth. We remain confident that our continued focused execution will drive organic growth into 2025 and beyond.”