Entain has reported a drop in net gaming revenue (NGR) for Q1 2021. The decline in NGR is mainly due to the closure of its retail venues during the period as a result of novel coronavirus (Covid-19) restrictions.
The FTSE 100 company, which owns the Ladbrokes and Coral brands, said total net gaming revenue fell 13%, even as online revenue leapt by a third.
The group said it is looking forward to a return to more normal business as betting shops in parts of the country reopened last week.
“There are competing leisure activities, with restaurants and cinemas opening up,” Chief Financial Officer Rob Wood said.
Underscoring the shift in betting habits, Grand National, which took place on April 10, was Britain’s biggest ever online sports betting event as punters turned to mobile apps to bet on one of the world’s most famous horse racing events.
“It is a real shame that shops couldn’t be open for it. It typically attracts customers who don’t necessarily have an online gambling app on the phone,” Wood said.
Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Laura Hoy said that while the surge in internet gambling might wane eventually, “we expect that some customers will have shifted online permanently.”
Entain, which rebuffed a takeover approach from its U.S. joint venture partner MGM earlier this year, last month kept its dividend suspended despite a profit jump, citing the pandemic.