Ladbrokes owner Entain announced a revenue fall in the fourth quarter this morning after nearly six years of double-digit growth for the betting giant.
The global sports-betting and gaming group, which was the subject of two takeover approaches over the past year, said its online net gaming revenue fell nine per cent in the three months to December 31 from a year earlier, when it reported particularly strong numbers.
However, its retail net gaming revenue surged 60 per cent, with betting volumes at its more than 4,000 outlets across the UK, Italy, Ireland and Belgium within 10 per cent of pre-pandemic levels. Overall net gaming revenue climbed four per cent.
The FTSE 100 company reported “strong growth in all major markets” with online net gaming revenue up 18 per cent, excluding Germany, where the new regulatory regime is impacting the market.
In the past year, both US rival DraftKings and casino operator MGM made takeover approaches for the British firm, though neither resulted in a deal.
Analysts at CFRA Research upgraded the stock from a Hold to a Buy, acknowledging the failed acquisitions and the sector slowdown.
Andrew Tam, Senior Equity Research Analyst, added: “Despite the GBP28/share unsuccessful DraftKings bid, we better appreciate the long-term value of ENT’s businesses and.”
But in many ways, the saving grace for Entain was BetMGM, the group’s US joint venture with MGM Resorts.
BetMGM hit a net revenue of around $850m (£624m), up nearly five times, and expects momentum to continue as it hopes to hit over $1.3bn (£954m) in 2022.
Jette Nygaard-Andersen, Entain’s chief exec, called 2021 “successful and eventful” for Entain, and called out BetMGM as a particular highlight for the company.
“We continue to see significant growth opportunities ahead of us, with a total addressable market of around $160bn across our new and existing markets, as well as in emerging areas of interactive entertainment. We believe these opportunities will enable us to at least treble the size of our business. As a result, we remain confident in our prospects for the year ahead and beyond”, Nygaard-Andersen added.
There was little action on the London Stock Exchange for the Entain stock, which was up just under one per cent to 1,715.50p.