Entain ups 2021 EBITDA guidance as units clear operating high bars 

Entain Plc has upped its expected full-year 2021 EBITDA results to be in the range of £875-to-£885 million, as the FTSE100 gambling group delivers on its high-growth targets. 

Publishing a Q4 trading update, Entain cites that FY2021 group net gaming revenues (NGR) will be up 7% on corresponding 2020 results.

Growth is attributed to the robust performance of its online unit that is expected to deliver a 12% NGR increase on FY2020 results of £2.7 billion – “demonstrating the consistent ability of our operating model to deliver diversified and sustainable growth.

Online growth was maintained despite a difficult end-of-year trading period, as Q4 NGR results of -9% were dragged by German market regulatory adjustments and strong like-for-like period comparatives.

Despite end-of-year headwinds, Entain’s online portfolio is expected to declare a 25% year-on-year increase on active player numbers.

Jette Nygaard-Andersen, Entain’s CEO, commented: “2021 has been a successful and eventful period for Entain, and our market-leading platform has driven another year of strong, sustainable and diversified growth. All of our major markets have performed well.” 

Online growth continues to mitigate Retail Unit declines, which Entain anticipates being -3% NGR on 2020 comparatives. However, a positive outlook was provided for Retail Units as Q4 trading saw the “majority of shops open and trading volumes return to within 10% of pre-COVID levels”.

Entain continues its North American expansion, led by its BetMGM joint venture business that achieved a stellar year that saw it declare an FY2021 NGR of approximately $850 million, up nearly 5 times versus 2020 results.

Yesterday, alongside JV partner MGM Resorts, Entain set the 2022 NRG target of $1.3 billion for BetMGM, as the business is expected to deliver positive EBITDA results by 2023.

“BetMGM, our hugely exciting business in the US, has been a particular highlight with FY21 net gaming revenue ahead of expectations and an upgraded outlook for 2022.” Nygaard-Andersen detailed on 2022 expectations.

“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.”

2021 operational highlights were primarily focused on Entain’s ESG and sustainability charter, which saw the group achieve a number of objectives.

CSR initiatives saw the Entain Foundation launch EnTrain, a new multi-million-pound global initiative to increase access to technology access and improve diversity across the firm’s operating regions.

The group continues to develop its ARC – Advanced Responsibility & Care, with real-time customer interaction trials underway, that will help advance an international rollout.

“We have also made significant operational progress and have continued to provide our customers with even better content, experiences and excitement as the worlds of media, entertainment, technology and gaming converge – Nygaard-Andersen concluded – “As ever, our sustainability efforts have been at the core of everything that we do. We have continued to lead the way in the critically important area of player protection, and our technology-based Advanced Responsibility and Care programme is progressing well.”

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