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Entain has set aside a £585m provision in respect of its ongoing deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) negotiations with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

The operator previously announced an investigation by HMRC into its legacy Turkey-facing business, which it is seeking to resolve via DPA negotiations with the CPS.

Entain, then GVC, sold the Turkish business in 2017.

Entain now believes it is likely to be able to agree a resolution of the HMRC investigation, although the full terms of a DPA are subject to judicial approval, which will be sought in Q4 2023.

The firm has therefore allowed for a provision of £585m against any potential settlement, which would be paid over a four-year period.

The settlement relates to alleged offences under Section 7 of the 2010 Bribery Act.

Section 7 relates to the failure of a relevant commercial organisation to have adequate procedures in place designed to prevent persons associated with it from undertaking bribery for the benefit of the commercial organisation.

The provision was calculated on the basis that Entain will receive full credit for its extensive co-operation with the investigation both before and after entering into a DPA.

“Following a complete overhaul of our business model, strategy and culture in the last few years, the Entain of today bears no resemblance to the GVC of yesterday.”
Entain chairman Barry Gibson

Entain said that since the start of the investigation, it has undertaken a review of anti-bribery policies and procedures and has taken action to strengthen its compliance programme.

In a statement, the board said it hoped to conclude the matter and draw a line under the legacy issues involving former third-party suppliers and former Entain employees.

Entain chairman Barry Gibson said: “We are pleased to be making good progress towards drawing a line under this historical issue, which relates to a business that was sold by a former management team of the group nearly six years ago.

“We have been working closely with the CPS throughout this process, and they have recognised our extensive cooperation.

“Following a complete overhaul of our business model, strategy and culture in the last few years, the Entain of today bears no resemblance to the GVC of yesterday,” he added.

Kenny Alexander was CEO of the company at the time of the alleged breach.

He had been touted for a return to the UK gambling sector this year as the potential CEO of 888 after investment vehicle FS Gaming built up a significant stake in the business.

However, 888 pulled the plug on the negotiations after the Gambling Commission expressed concern over the outcome of the HMRC investigation.

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