Entain has reported strong online performance in the first quarter of the year, with net gaming revenue (NGR) from remote gaming rising by 33 per cent.
The period from 1 January to 31 March 2021saw sports betting grow by 47 per cent, while gaming rose 23 per cent.
Meanwhile, the firm’s retail operations have continued to be impacted by covid-19, with betting shops closed throughout Q1.
The latest results release details that during Q1, there was an average of 4,662 shops in the Entain estate, compared to an average of 4,843 for the same period last year.
However, the gaming behemoth reported strong online growth across all major markets in Q1, revealing an overall rise of 44 per cent online. Germany was highlighted as an exception due to the new regulatory conditions holding the business back.
In the US, Entain holds a 23 per cent market share via its partnership with MGM Resorts. The firm has set an ambition to challenge for the number two spot for sports betting and gaming across the US.
Entain CEO Jette Nygaard-Andersen said: “We saw excellent growth across all our major markets other than Germany where regulatory changes have impacted the market. BetMGM continues to exhibit outstanding momentum with impressive market share growth. Our acquisitions of Bet.pt and Enlabs underpin further progress on our strategic expansion into new regulated markets.
“With some easing of Covid restrictions, we are delighted to be welcoming customers back into our shops. While it has only been a handful of days since the re-opening in parts of the UK on the 12 April, we look forward to returning to more normal trading across our whole business.”
The firm also confirmed a new share scheme for around 22,500 of its employees. The ShareSave plan will be open to around 14,000 retail employees in the UK. It will work via monthly contributions starting at £5.
The company said it had initially placed a £100 monthly cap on contributions to reflect the truly global nature of its business and currency differences across the workforce, with the aim of maximising its appeal to all colleagues.
Reflecting on a successful Q1, Nygaard-Andersen said: “This has been another very successful and productive quarter with Entain making excellent progress across a number of our strategic priorities. This is testament to the hard work and dedication of our people across all aspects of our business. I am delighted that they will now have the opportunity to share in the future success of Entain through our new Share Save plan.”