Spotlight on Ladbrokes’ furlough claims

Home » Spotlight on Ladbrokes’ furlough claims

UK bookmaker Ladbrokes is coming under media criticism for claiming furlough money during the pandemic yet its parent company’s accounts show that online gambling made up the losses.

The company claimed £102m from the government’s furlough scheme, but its accounts published yesterday showed that its online betting made up for all the losses from the closure of its bookmakers’ shops.

Ladbrokes claimed £57.5m in 2020 and reports suggest that it claimed another £44m this year. Its parent company Entain, however, increased revenues, mainly through online gambling.

In a statement to the BBC, Entain said that the furlough money “protected 14,000 jobs.” It said that the situation was under review.

Ladbrokes is the largest betting shop operator in the UK with 2,845 outlets under the Ladbrokes or Coral brands. They were mostly closed for long periods in 2020 and 2021.

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Entain, on the other hand, is a major online gambling company and its 2020 revenues were unchanged at £3.6bn and it showed a small profit of £114m. The BBC reports that in the first nine months of 2021 revenues at Entain grew by eight per cent.

Entain told the BBC: “The furlough scheme was a sensible and highly welcome policy intervention that helped us, as one of the country’s largest retailers, to maintain the livelihoods of more than 14,000 retail colleagues on full pay.

“While the virus is still with us and the outlook, although improving, is still far from certain, the board will continue to keep the situation under review.”

The BBC has noted that while Entain did nothing legally wrong, its rival William Hill returned £24.5m of furlough money in August 2020 and Paddy Power owner Flutter did not take any furlough money at all.

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