Shares in the group fell 7% as it said online net gaming revenues had been softer than it had predicted since the summer as sporting results went in favour of punters as well as a drag from online safer gambling measures and incoming UK regulations and slower-than-forecast growth in Australia and Italy.
It is now expecting a “high single digit” per cent fall over the third quarter, on a pro forma basis.
Over the year as a whole, it expects group online net gaming revenues to be down by a “low single digit per cent”, though it kept its outlook for underlying earnings in the range of £1 billion to £1.05 billion thanks to tight “operational controls”.
The firm had previously forecast online gaming revenue growth in the mid-teens over the year as a whole, including soon-to-complete acquisitions.
Entain said it is now speeding up its transformation plans under an overhaul that has been ongoing for the past three years, which includes a review of its markets and moves to simplify the group structure and operations to cut costs.
It will give more details on how it is putting into place these actions alongside its trading update on November 2.
Entain chief executive Jette Nygaard-Andersen said: “We continue to see good underlying growth in our online business and are reiterating our EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation) guidance for the year despite softer-than-expected revenue growth in the third quarter and the ongoing roll-out of industry-leading safer gambling measures.”
She added: “We have made significant changes to the group over the last three years.
“Our focus now is on accelerating the actions we are taking to drive sustainable organic growth, expand our margins, capitalise on the US opportunity and deliver long-term returns for our shareholders.”
Entain said its betting shops business had seen “robust” trading, while its BetMGM business in the US was also performing well and is on track for earnings growth in the second half and full-year net gaming revenues at the top end of previous guidance.
The warning over its online net gaming revenues comes after the group last month revealed it was setting aside £585 million to cover a potential penalty after a Bribery Act investigation into its former Turkish business.
Entain put by the provision as it continues negotiations with the Crown Prosecution Service following the four-year inquiry.
Entain sold the Turkish subsidiary in 2017, before the investigation started in 2019.