Impact of sporting cancellations as a result of Covid-19

Jay DossetterNews

16 March 2020

GVC Holdings PLC
("GVC" or the “Group”)

Impact of sporting cancellations as a result of Covid-19

GVC Holdings PLC (LSE: GVC), the global sports betting and gaming group, today provides an update regarding the impact of Covid-19 and subsequent cancellation of sporting events.

On 5th March 2020 the Group updated on current trading for the period 1 January 2020 to 23 February 2020 stating  “Trading in the year to date was strong with Group NGR +5% cc and Online NGR +16% cc, both of which have benefitted from strong sports margins in the first two months.”

As the spread of Covid-19 continues across the world, the well being, safety and security of our colleagues and customers is of paramount importance to us.  We are following government advice in each area of our operations and have enacted contingency plans to minimise disruption to the business.

The spread of the virus means that a number of live sporting events are being impacted.  In our financial year to 31 December 2019, approximately 45% of our Group NGR was generated from sporting events, with 43% of our online NGR generated from sports.

While it is difficult to quantify the precise impact on earnings it is clear that a significant reduction in sporting events will have a material impact on EBITDA in the current financial year.  We have therefore modelled a scenario based on the following assumptions:

  • Football: the Euros will be postponed until 2021 and all other football will be cancelled until July 2020;
  • Horse Racing: major events such as Aintree and Royal Ascot will be cancelled. All other horse racing continues behind closed doors; and
  • Retail: the retail estate in the UK will remain open for business. Our stores in Italy and Belgium remain closed for three months.

These assumptions would mean that there will be substantially fewer sporting events through to August 2020 and that EBITDA for the financial year ending 31 December 2020 will be reduced by approximately £130m - £150m(1) before any mitigating actions.  If shops in the UK are closed, we anticipate that this would incrementally reduce EBITDA by approximately £45m - £50m per month, which includes employment costs of approximately £20m per month.

The Group retains a strong balance sheet with net debt/EBITDA as at 31 December 2019 of 2.69x.  We have a Revolving Credit Facility of £550m available and a covenant test of 4x net debt/EBITDA(2).  This test only occurs if the facility is drawn by 35% or more at the end of a financial quarter.  The facility remains currently undrawn and as at 31 December 2019 the Group had accessible cash of £260m.

GVC CEO, Kenneth Alexander commented:

“While we do not underestimate the challenge presented by Covid-19, GVC is in a robust position to manage the impact on our operations.  We are a diverse global business, with an experienced and expert management team, which operates across multiple products and markets.  Our priority is to protect our employees while maintaining our offer to our customers at this difficult time.“

The Group continues to monitor events and has the flexibility to take appropriate actions as required.


Investor Relations

GVC Holdings plc

David Lloyd-Seed, Director of Investor Relations & External Communications

Tel: +44 (0) 203 938 0000

Jennifer Spencer, Investor Relations Manager



GVC Holdings plc

Jay Dossetter, Head of CSR & Corporate Communications

Tel: +44 (0) 203 938 0000


Rob Greening / Elly Williamson

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7250 1446


  • As at 31 January 2020, company compiled EBITDA consensus for the financial year to 31 December 2020 was £776.3m on a pre-IFRS 16 basis.
  • Covenants are tested at the end of a financial quarter on a trailing 12 month basis and are calculated on a pre-IFRS 16 implementation basis. 

Forward-looking statements
This document contains certain statements that are forward-looking statements. They appear in a number of places throughout this document and include statements regarding our intentions, beliefs or current expectations and those of our officers, directors and employees concerning, amongst other things, results of our operations, financial condition, liquidity, prospects, growth, strategies and the business we operate. These forward-looking statements include all matters that are not historical facts. By their nature, these statements involve risks and uncertainties since future events and circumstances can cause results and developments to differ materially from those anticipated. Any such forward-looking statements reflect knowledge and information available at the date of preparation of this document. Other than in accordance with its legal or regulatory obligations (including under the Market Abuse Regulation (596/2014), the Listing Rules, the Disclosure Guidance and Transparency Rules and the Prospectus Rules), the Company undertakes no obligation to update or revise any such forward-looking statements. Nothing in this document should be construed as a profit forecast. The Company and its directors accept no liability to third parties in respect of this document save as would arise under English law.

About GVC Holdings PLC
GVC Holdings PLC is one of the world’s largest sports-betting and gaming groups, operating both online and in the retail sector.  The Group owns a comprehensive portfolio of established brands; Sports Brands include bwin, Coral, Crystalbet, Eurobet, Ladbrokes, Neds and Sportingbet; Gaming Brands include CasinoClub, Foxy Bingo, Gala, Gioco Digitale, partypoker and PartyCasino. The Group owns proprietary technology across all of its core product verticals and in addition to its B2C operations provides services to a number of third-party customers on a B2B basis. The Group has also entered into a joint-venture with MGM Resorts to capitalise on the sports-betting and gaming opportunity in the US.  The Group, incorporated in the Isle of Man, is a constituent of the FTSE 250 index and has licences in more than 20 countries, across five continents.

For more information see the Group's website:

LEI: 213800GNI3K45LQR8L28