Coral owner warns on profit hit from second lockdown

GVC, the betting group behind Coral and Ladbrokes, warned it could take a profit hit of £34 million if all its high street betting stores in the UK are forced to close for the entire month.

The company said that as things stand the new lockdown restrictions announced in England on Saturday will hit profits by £27 million, although this could rise to £34 million if Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland follow England with a month-long lockdown.

Current rules mean bookies in Scotland and Northern Ireland can remain open, with sites in Wales expected to reopen on November 9.

GVC’s European operations will also face an underlying pre-tax profit fall of £10 million as things stand, with sites in Ireland, Italy and Belgium all under restrictions or closed.

If the closures were in line with the England lockdown for a month until December 2 it would fall to £9 million, although it is unlikely with Belgian sites closed until December 13.

The profits hit includes any offsetting from Government support, including the reintroduction of the furlough scheme.

GVC said: “The well-being, safety and security of our colleagues and customers is of paramount importance to us.

“We are following Government advice in each area of our operations and are enacting contingency plans to minimise the impact on the business.”

GVC has previously reported a strong year and upgraded earnings twice since the pandemic, with punters turning to online gambling in droves.

The company benefitted from online casino games and poker, as bored gamblers filled their time in online gaming rooms.