Bet365 experiences stake decline but maintains prominent market position

Bet365 Group has experienced a bounceback from COVID-19, with the company reporting that profits remain high despite the amount wagered on sports across its platform falling last year.

Issuing its financial statement covering the 12 month period ending on 28 March 2021, the Stock-on-Trent-based operator revealed that the amount wagered on sport on the bet365 website fell by 13%.

Despite this decline, the number of active site customers grew by 13%, and the operator has asserted that the stake decrease has been offset by a year-on-year margin increase. 

Additionally, company founder and owner Denise Coates also took a £170 million pay cut during this time period, but she remains one of the UK’s highest-paid business figures and its largest single taxpayer. 

Overall, the group’s operating profit rose by 47% YoY to £285.5 million (2020: £194.7m), a development attributed to a reduction in staff costs – including director salaries – to £701.3 million (2020: £870.6m).

A vertical breakdown saw mobile sports betting remain the most popular method for bet365 customers to wager on fixtures – despite declining by 2% – whilst in-play betting also dropped from 75% of all bets in 2020 to 68% the following year. 

Some of the group’s financial hurdles were linked to the performance of Stoke City FC – of which the Coates family maintains significant investment, with Peter Coates serving as Chairman – as the team was hit with fiscal difficulties due to the pandemic.

As of March 2021, the Potters and its related facilitates had incurred a loss before taxation of £55.8 million (2020: £87.2m) based on a turnover of £29.3 million (2020: £54.2m), whilst bet365 further detailed that the EFL Championship side was negatively impacted by reduced parachute payments from Premier League clubs. 

The group explained: “At the start of the period we experienced the almost complete cessation of sporting events; however, by the end of the first half of the year, we saw the resumption of sports with the vast majority of European football leagues managing to conclude their domestic seasons.”

An increase in gaming was also experienced – perhaps due to the suspension of various sporting events throughout the latter stages of 2020 and early 2021 – with revenue from this product rising by 8%, contributing to a 1% growth rate for the group’s overall Sports and Gaming division to £2,788 million (2020: £2,757.2m). 

Commenting on bet365’s bounceback from COVID-19 headwinds, Denise Coates remarked: “I am delighted with how the group responded and adapted to these challenging circumstances.”

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