Ladbrokes Refuse to Pay Back Furlough Claimed Despite Huge Online Profits

Entain, owners of Ladbrokes and Coral have been summoned by MPs to pay back £102million in government furlough money claimed during 2020/2021 due to the pandemic after online profits soared to £681million in 2020.According to published Company House records, Ladbrokes claimed £57.5million in 2020 and £44m in 2021.

Online Profits Soared During Pandemic

Coral and Ladbrokes owners Entain saw profits soar during the pandemic as many people who regularly bet in retail outlets took to betting online once sporting events resumed. Bored customers also played more online casino games while sporting events were canceled in 2020.However, Entain saw online revenue rise over the same period to £3.6bn, with pre-tax profits of £114m.

Urged to Follow Industry Rivals Example

Labour MP Caroline Harris has urged all betting companies who saw online profits soar during the pandemic to pay back the furlough money. William Hill, an Entain rival paid back £24.5m in claimed furlough money, while Flutter Entertainments Paddy Power brand did not claim furlough.An Entain spokesperson said, “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.“Whilst 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.”MP Caroline Harris said, “Pandemic support was designed to help desperate firms to survive – not bolster the pockets of gambling fat cats. “Ladbrokes and Betfred must follow the lead of industry rivals and pay back these enormous sums.”Betfred who claimed up to £65.5m during 2020/2021 thanked the scheme for not a single redundancy being made.Entain defended its decision to accept furlough money despite huge online profits as they claimed 14,000 retail staff jobs were saved.

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