Entain navigates digital declines in H1 2021 as online NGR falls by 7%

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Entain has reported a 7% dip in online NGR to £1.45bn for H1 2022 driven by tough Covid-19 comparatives and the operator’s withdrawal from the Netherlands.

Excluding the impact of the Netherlands, where Entain is still awaiting a regulated licence, online NGR came in 3% down year-on-year.

Online sports betting NGR fell by 6% to £702.9m as sports wagers dropped by 3% to £6.88bn, representing a sports margin of 12.8%, compared to 13.1% in H1 2021.

Online gaming NGR, meanwhile, decreased by 9% to £752.7m.

Online underlying EBITDA for H1 2022 came in at £384.7m, a 22% downturn on last year.

Some of the digital decline was driven by the UK, which came in 15% behind last year on a constant currency basis due to the prior-year lockdowns, tighter affordability measures and customers responding to macroeconomic pressure, as first revealed by the operator in Q2.

Italy performance was also down year-on-year at -12%, as was Germany (-19%) and Georgia (-9%).

There was online growth to report in both Australia (+20%) ahead of potential tax headwinds in New South Wales and Queensland and in Brazil (+38%), driven by a 31% uptick in online sports betting revenue led by the operator’s Sportingbet brand.

Entain’s retail business benefitted hugely from the lifting of lockdown restrictions and reported H1 revenue growth of 232% to £636m.

This provided a major boost to overall group revenue for the first half of the year, which came in at £2.09m, representing an annual increase of 19%.

Underlying EBITDA across the whole business also climbed by 17% to £1.33bn.

Elsewhere, in the US, Entain said BetMGM continued to perform strongly and was on track to deliver full-year NGR in excess of $1.3bn after reporting H1 NGR of $608m, up 65%.

Entain CEO Jette Nygaard-Andersen said the company’s focus on a broader recreational customer base had delivered record levels of customer activity, up 57% versus H1 2019.

“We continue to make excellent progress on our strategic priorities, with momentum in our business remaining strong as a result of putting the customer at the heart of everything we do,” she said.

“I am delighted that more customers are choosing to play with us as we focus on providing them with even better products, engaging content and exciting experiences.

“This has resulted in our highest ever level of actives in H1, up 57% versus the same period two years ago. Not only is this approach great for our customers, but it also provides us with a broader, more recreational customer base that will support more sustainable long-term revenues,” she added.

London-based investment bank Peel Hunt reiterated its Buy recommendation and 2,000p target price for Entain stock.

“With a flip from loss to profit at BetMGM and once the business has lapped the disruption of Covid-19 we expect steady, cash generative growth to be restored,” said Peel Hunt analyst Ivor Jones.

Finally, Entain today announced the formation of Entain CEE following the acquisition of Croatian operator SuperSport.

About the author

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Jake Evans

Jake Evans is an NCTJ-accredited journalist and editor who has covered the online gaming and sports betting industry since 2017. He is the managing editor of iGaming NEXT and has previously worked in both content and data for EGR, Stats Perform and Football Radar.

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