Entain Boss Discusses Pandemic, Business, and Furlough Money

Since Entain was rebranded from GVC Holdings, the company has been an echelon of responsible gambling and industry standards. Part of this comes from its legacy from GVC Holdings, but part of it is a brand-new approach to the industry that has allowed the new entity to break away from the ways of old when former chief executive Kenny Alexander was leading it.

After news by the BBC last week highlighted that Entain had collected $132 million (£102 million) of furlough money, all of which was used to safeguard jobs against redundancies and layoffs, Entain has seen fit to respond. In a recent interview with The Times, company boss Jette Nygaard-Andersen discussed her role within the company, the new challenges it faces, and how the pandemic has impacted business.

Responding to the reporting by BBC, the chief executive confirmed that the company may decide to return the money, although this is subject to constant review as Entain seeks to protect its team members.

However, Nygaard-Andersen noted that the threat of the virus is still very real and that the money that it received helped it to guarantee the jobs of 14,000 staff members, offering them full pay at a time when people globally were losing their jobs. The executive did say that the board would continue to monitor the situation, assessing any potential dangers a new spike in global COVID-19 cases may have on it.

“The furlough schemes were put in place for a reason. The reason was a pandemic – which, by the way, we are still in the midst of,” Nygaard-Andersen added.

Policymakers Should Tread Carefully in Restricting Gambling

Since Nygaard-Andersen took the reins at Entain she has been promoting safer gambling for all and has expanded the company’s reach in various social initiatives. The company’s brands have delivered impeccable results while also making a commitment to completely eliminate problem gambling revenue. The executive made this point very clear:

“It is somewhat unfair, the reputation that our industry has. It is utterly important for me that our customers understand that we have their safety at heart and that they see us as a trusted entertainment provider.”

Entain CEO Jette Nygaard-Andersen

However, Nygaard-Andersen, a champion of regulation, has cautioned that burdensome laws and restrictions may have the opposite effect. In advising policymakers on how to proceed with regulating gambling, she has recommended a healthier overall balance.

On a pure industry level, Nygaard-Andersen argued that Entain is ready to take on Flutter Entertainment and knows “what it takes to win.” This rivalry has not stopped Entain from pledging another $135 million (£100 million) to its innovation lab in the United Kingdom.

GVC’s legacy has seemed to put no crimp on Entain’s growth plans, and Nygaard-Andersen has been brought to specifically address this issue of withdrawing from the “grey area” market. This began under the stint of the previous executive, Shay Segev, who left for DAZN to try and turn the sports streaming service into the “Netflix of sports.”

Meanwhile, the company went ahead with a proposed joint venture with MGM Resorts International which Alexander feared would flop, but which turned out to be a successful foray after all. Nygaard-Andersen also remained composed in the face of two takeover attempts, one lodged by MGM Resorts and one by DraftKings, both of which undervalued the company and both of which were retracted as Entain demonstrated it would not be selling on the cheap.

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