Entain Settles Dispute with HMRC, Expected to Pay Out over £600M

Entain Plc has reached an agreement in principle with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to enter into a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) as part of an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) into its previous business in Turkey, Headlong.

Entain has notified its investors that it has received preliminary judicial approval from Dame Victoria Sharp, President of the Queen’s Bench Division, to complete the payment of £585 million to HMRC.

According to a corporate update, the company agreed to pay a “financial penalty and return of profits” totaling £585 million, make a charitable donation of £20 million and cover HMRC and CPS costs of £10 million.

These payments will be made in installments over the four-year period of the DPA from the date of final court approval.

HMRC began a review of former subsidiary Headlong in 2019 in relation to its online gambling operations in Turkey, which were controlled by GVC Holdings.

In May, Entain entered into negotiations with the CPS to resolve a dispute relating to alleged breaches of Section 7 of the Bribery Act 2010, including failure to prevent bribery by a subsidiary.

The company’s third-quarter trading update showed a provision of £585 million to cover the costs of the HMRC investigation, with a decision expected by the end of the year.

The board of directors highlighted the changes in the company following the events in question, emphasizing its commitment to regulated markets and maintaining high standards of corporate governance.

Barry Gibson, Entain Chairman noted: “This legacy issue pertains to a business divested by a past management team six years prior. The company has undergone significant changes since then, and the DPA process has underscored the profound evolution from the GVC of the past to today’s Entain. 

“We remain focused on advancing our operations exclusively within regulated markets and are acknowledged as a leading, responsible entity with unparalleled corporate governance across our business.”

Investors have been informed that the resolution process is nearing completion and expect to receive final approval of the DPA by December 5.

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