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Investors win big with £100m Ladbrokes dividend:

Investors win big with £100m Ladbrokes dividend: Gambling giant’s owner Entain unveils huge payout as profits soar 20%

The owner of Ladbrokes will pay out £100million to investors this year despite worries about a rise in problem gambling amid the cost-of-living squeeze.

Entain, which also owns Coral and Foxy Bingo, unveiled the mammoth sum after reporting half-year profits of £246.5million, up 20 per cent year-on-year, while revenues grew 18 per cent to £2.1billion.

 It is the first since the onset of Covid-19 that the gambling group has paid a dividend.

Dividend boom: Entain, led by chief exec Jette Nygaard-Andersen (pictured), unveiled the mammoth sum after reporting half-year profits of £246.5m, up 20% year-on-year

The figures were boosted by the company’s bookmakers and betting machines, which performed strongly as punters flooded back into betting shops following the end of lockdown restrictions.

The trend had helped to offset a 7 per cent decline in revenues from online gambling as people spent less time at home than the previous year.

Chief executive Jette Nygaard-Andersen said: ‘I am delighted that more customers are choosing to play with us as we focus on providing them with even better products.’

The shares jumped 3.7 per cent, or 49p, to 1357.5p following the results.

But others warned Entain should be diverting cash to funding support services amid fears many will turn to betting to try and boost their incomes as price rises stretch household budgets.

AJ Bell analyst Danni Hewson said with a recession on the way, Entain needs to monitor its customers’ behaviour.

‘History suggests a lot of people like to try their luck during hard times, in the hope of winning a big prize,’ Hewson said.

Data published in June from the Centre for Economics and Business Research for life insurance broker LifeSearch showed a quarter of gamblers had increased their habit over the previous 12 months, with just under a third of all Britons engaging in gambling.

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