Profit growth after costs cut

Bet365 posts flat $3.7B revenues, total sports wagers down 13% in 2021 amid pandemic restrictions

Denise Coates, bet365 Group Chief Executive.
Reading time 1:42 min

UK online gaming giant Bet365 posted a profit before tax of £470 million ($621.5 million), up from £137 million in 2020, in the year to the end of March 2021. This was based on revenues that were flat at £2.8 billion ($3.7 billion), according to a document filed last week at UK's Companies House.

The results were described as significantly better than the prior year, according to local media, as the group cut costs and enjoyed an increase in the value of its investments during the period. However, revenues for the year were down from £3 billion ($4 billion) in 2019. Likewise, pre-tax profits more than doubled from 2020, but were down about 40% from 2019.

The Covid-19 pandemic had a significant impact on the business throughout the period, with the global suspension of sporting events across all levels resulting in dramatically reduced revenues. This was offset by migration to other business areas, including virtual sports, slot machines and casino products.

However, a resumption of sport in the second half of the period led to revenues increasing to above pre-pandemic levels. As a result, revenue from the sports and gaming segment of the group was “marginally higher” than the previous year, according to the filing.

“I am delighted with how the group responded and adapted to these challenging circumstances,” Group Chief Executive Denise Coates said. “We continued to operate the business successfully throughout multiple lockdowns with business continuity plans enacted.”

Moreover, the group claims it was able to navigate the challenging context imposed by the pandemic without any redundancies or reductions in basic pay, and without making use of any government support program in any jurisdiction. 

The increase in profits was “largely attributed to a reduction in remuneration”, the group said, according to Financial Times. Analysts describe the performance as appropriate given the absence of sporting events through a large part of 2020.

Sports and gaming accounted for a grand majority of the revenue, totaling £2.7 billion. While gaming rose 8%, the share of in-play within sports revenue fell to 68% from 75% in 2020. Additionally, total wagers on sports were down by 13%, a second consecutive year of decline.

The company’s highest-paid director, presumably Denise Coates, earned £250 million in the period which, in addition to a more than 50% share of the company’s £97.5 million dividends, takes her total compensation for the year to just under £300 million ($397.1 million), according to The Guardian. The sum is £170 million less than her reward a year earlier, which positioned her among the world’s best-paid executives

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