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Gloucestershire Business News

Betting giant to hand £585m to HMRC

The parent company of Ladbrokes and Coral, which currently has 18 betting shops dotted across Gloucestershire's retail map, is to stump up almost £600m in a bid to avert prosecution for a bribery charge.

Ladbrokes outlets include sites in Brockworth, Stonehouse, Stroud and Cirencester, as well as three in the centre of Cheltenham, and another on Gloucester's Southgate Street. Meanwhile Dursley has a Coral outlet and eight more are scattered in and around Cheltenham and Gloucester.

In an agreement at the High Court on Friday, parent company Entain PLC, formerly known as GVC Holdings, said it will pay HM Revenue and Customs £585m to settle an investigation into an alleged bribery at a business it owned in Turkey.

Under the agreed terms, the figure includes a £20m charitable donation, along with a contribution of £10m towards costs incurred by HMRC and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). The figure will be settled in installments over four years. As a "disgorgement of profits" the figure includes a paying back of profit which is judged to have been made illegally or unethically.

Barry Gibson, chair of Entain, said in a statement: "This legacy matter concerns a business which was sold by a former management team six years ago."

He added: "The group has changed immeasurably since these events took place. We are committed to continuing our journey towards operating only in regulated markets, and are now widely recognised as a best-in-class, responsible operator with the highest levels of corporate governance across all aspects of our business."

Entain is an international sports betting and gambling company which is listed on the London Stock Exchange and in the FTSE 100 Index. Its brand portfolio includes Coral, Ladbrokes, PartyPoker, bwin and Sportingbet.

Last year, Entain was forced to pay £17m for failures at its online business, which runs 13 websites including ladbrokes.com, coral.co.uk and foxybingo.com, as well as for failures at its Ladbrokes Betting & Gaming operation, which runs 2,746 gambling premises across Britain. 

Proactive Investors reported on Friday that Entain shares dropped 3% at 840p when the judgement was issued, but recovered back to 856.2p shortly after.

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