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Entain sets aside £585 million for possible UK tax authority fine

Global sports-betting Entain has set aside £585 million ($746.2 million) to possibly settle a possible large fine by the UK tax authority over historic corporate misconduct at its former Turkish online betting business.

Entain sold its Turkish business in 2017 ahead of its £4 billion ($5.1 billion) takeover of Ladbrokes, which created the UK’s biggest high-street bookmaker. An investigation held by the HMRC, UK tax authority, has been in progress since 2019 and has been handed over to the Crown Prosecution Service, the UK’s public prosecutor.

‘Negotiations have now progressed to the point where the Company believes that it is likely to be able to agree a resolution of the HMRC investigation insofar as it relates to the Company and the Group. While the full terms of a DPA are subject to judicial approval, the Company has a sufficient degree of confidence to take a provision of £585 million against a potential settlement, which would be paid over a four-year period,’ the group says in its latest financial report.

The group posted £501.1 million ($639.1 million) in net losses in the first half of this year when compared to net income of £27 million ($34.4 million) a year ago, despite a 14 percent year-on-year rise in net gaming revenue to £2.4 billion ($3 billion, and a 6 percent rise in the group’s EBITDA to £499 million ($636.6 million).

The betting group is now predicting that following its recent acquisitions and an ‘encouraging start to the second half of the year’, its EBITDA will be in the range of £1 billion to £1.05 billion ($1.2 billion).

In June the Entain Group announced that it had received final approval to take over control of New Zealand TAB, a major move that is projected to generate hundreds of millions of dollars for horse racing and sport.

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