FOBTs tax credit sees Betfred rideout 2020 retail storms 

Betfred Limited has filed its 2020 corporate accounts (period reported up to 27 September), disclosing the impact of last year’s COVID-19 pandemic on its business units. 

The Done family-owned betting group saw its group wagers shrink from £10-to-£6.5 billion,  a result of the enforced closure of its UK betting estates and further COVID-19 adjustments.  

Trading with an impaired retail unit, Betfred recorded declines across all top-line metrics as corporate revenues fell to £524 million, down 16% on FY2019’s £621 million.

Nevertheless, registering an ‘exceptional credit return’ of £99 million, Betfred would declare group operating profits (income from profits and investments) of £104 million, up 40% on 2019’s £75 million.

The £99 million credit return was attributed to Betfred winning its long-standing HMRC tax dispute on miscalculated FOBTs tax charges taken between 2005-to-2013.

Providing a breakdown of operating expenses, Betfred maintained its like-for-like betting duties at £55 million, whilst the group saw its gaming machine duties fall to £38 million (FY2019: £64m).

Betfred cited that excluding its HMRC credit return, the company would have reported a full-year 2020 EBITDA of £35 million, down 27% on 2019 results of £48.5 million.

The 2020 accounts saw Betfred report that it had reduced its group headcount to 6900 from 7,150, with the bookmaker forced to review all non-profitable units.

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