Ladbrokes has had strong years despite the challenges the sportsbook faced in its home market and beyond. Now, the BBC has looked into the company’s furlough claims, with Ladbrokes collecting $132 million (£102 million) by tapping into the Job Retention program offered by the government to help businesses keep on their employees.
Furlough Money Go to Betting Companies to Save Jobs
The BBC reviewed accounts by Ladbrokes published on Thursday and found out that the company claimed some $78 million (£57.5 million) in 2020 along with another $60 million or (£44 million) in 2022.
This money has been used for a good thing, too. Entain, the parent company of Ladbrokes, and a revamped gaming giant with a global reach, has been able to protect 14,000 jobs at a time when its business was buffeted by both strong regulatory headwinds and a pandemic that brought the retail sector to a grinding halt.
Ladbrokes and Coral had to shut down most of their 2,845 retail shops in the United Kingdom, and they kept them shut for most of 2020 and 2021, but the company’s booming online business managed to pull financial performance ahead while providing a cushion for the retail workforce.
Entain’s thriving online business has translated into positive results. It has collected record handles, and its expansion in the United States through a joint venture with MGM Resorts International has paid off.
However, the furlough claim in 2021 is one of the 20 biggest claims based on the data by the HMRC, according to the media. Entain has responded to this by pointing out the number of jobs that had been saved:
“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.”spokesperson for Entain
Other Betting Companies Use Furlough Money Smartly to Avoid Redundancies
The BBC elaborated that it was Entain’s prerequisite to claiming the money legally but pointed out that William Hill decided to return some $33.18 million (£24.5 million) of its furlough money in 2020, citing that it has been able to recover in the post-lockdown environment.
Others, such as Flutter Entertainment, decided not to touch furlough money at all. Another betting company that claimed the money was Betfred which runs 1,500 betting shops in the United Kingdom. The BBC has argued that Betfred may have collected between $63.13 million (£46.6 million) and $88.87 million (£65.6 million).
Betfred, though, remained optimistic about the future, arguing that the Job Retention program by the government has allowed the company to keep all members of the team onboard and not make a single redundancy. Betfred is committed to continuing investing in its high street shops.