Betfred Posts Loss in 2023 Despite Online Gambling Growth

  • Betfred generated just under £577m ($739m) in turnover from retail operations
  • The results are in line with the broader market, with Bet365 seeing similar results
  • Betfred is still growing rapidly though, making several investments in 2023
Betfred sign on shop
Betfred has posted a loss for 2023 despite growth in its online segment. [Image:]

A post-tax loss

UK-based gambling giant Betfred has posted a post-tax loss of £71.7m ($91.9m) for the year to October 1, 2023, in the company’s most recent accounts.

The bookmaker realized a post-tax profit of £19.6m ($25.1m) in the equivalent period for 2022, but despite increases in turnover, particularly in the online gambling sector, 2023 resulted in a significant hit to the long-established operator.

an enormous 99% year-on-year growth in its online gambling operations

The full figures showed that the company generated just under £577m ($739m) in turnover from retail operations, a marginal increase on the previous figure of £557.6m ($714.7m). However, the company saw an enormous 99% year-on-year growth in its online gambling operations, from £165.5m ($212.1m) to £331m ($424m).

Yet despite the significant growth in turnover, it was not enough to stop the company from slipping into the red.

Losses in line with broader market

The results are broadly in line with wider market trends, with rival Bet365 posting similar results at the beginning of the year, recording a £61.2m ($78.4m) loss despite also increasing turnover.

Compared to other bookmakers, Betfred has tended to have a greater focus on retail operations than online gambling, and will be buoyed by the modest growth in that sector, despite the number of operational retail outlets reducing from 1,464 to 1,387.

The Done family, BetFred’s billionaire owners, paid themselves a dividend of over £50m ($64m) in the previous accounting period, but have chosen not to do so during 2023.

Both companies will point to the significant growth in turnover as reasons to be optimistic for the future, with BetFred making several investments over the year as it continues to expand its operations.

The company acquired Sharp Gaming as its new technology department in a £100m ($128m) customer migration earlier in the year, and has also significantly expanded its retail operations in the US, with outlets in Nevada, Ohio, and Colorado. BetFred also acquired 51% of South African online gaming operator LottoStar during the period.

Betfred faced significant costs

Yet despite significant growth, recent years have not been without challenges for the Warrington, UK-based bookmaker. BetFred announced this year that it plans to withdraw from the Maryland sports betting market, and also recently sold a significant chunk of its investment portfolio, raising just over £60m ($76.9m).

the company cited other additional expenses for the period including exceptional costs of £60.9m ($78m)

In the filing, the company cited other additional expenses for the period including exceptional costs of £60.9m ($78m), mostly relating to a £40m ($51.2m) payment for onerous contracts, as well as more than £6m ($7.6m) for the write-off of US pre-payments.

BetFair was founded by chairman Fred Done, who stepped down from his role as CEO in 2021. The billionaire boss founded his first betting shop after winning a £25 ($32) bet at 8-1 in 1966. As of the latest accounts, the betting giant now employs over 8,000 people.

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