Senior directors at Entain have given a vote of confidence in the Ladbrokes owner after acquiring around £2.4million of its stock.

Chairman Barry Gibson has more than quadrupled his holding in the company after buying about 93,700 shares valued at almost £870,000, while his wife, Brenda, has purchased £140,550 worth of shares.

Jette Nygaard-Andersen, Entain’s chief executive, has doubled her stake in the firm following an acquisition of 35,000 shares worth approximately £324,000.

Good deal: Entain directors have acquired around £2.4million of stock in the Ladbrokes owner

Good deal: Entain directors have acquired around £2.4million of stock in the Ladbrokes owner

Good deal: Entain directors have acquired around £2.4million of stock in the Ladbrokes owner

But the biggest purchase was made by non-executive director and Vue International chair Stella David, who bought around £900,000 of stock.

Overall, 665,682 shares representing 0.1 per cent of Entain’s issued share capital were acquired by four board members and Ms Gibson on 7 November.

This is Money asked Entain for comment on the stock purchases but did not receive a response.

The transactions come a few days after American mutual fund Dodge & Cox more than doubled its stake in Entain to 10.3 per cent, thereby becoming its second-largest shareholder.

Entain shares rose 3.1 per cent to £9.70 by late Wednesday afternoon, making them one of the top risers on the FTSE 100 Index.

However, they have still slumped by about 28 per cent since the year started amid tougher regulatory measures.

In recent years, this has included a strict £2 limit on fixed-odds betting terminals, prohibitions on bonus offers for at-risk customers, and guidance cracking down on so-called ‘VIP schemes.’

More restrictions are set to be introduced, with a UK Government white paper published in late April proposing more stringent affordability checks and a mandatory levy to finance treatment and research on betting addiction.

Entain has also seen its shares impacted by ‘customer-friendly sports results,’ a £600million fundraising to finance the takeover of Polish sports betting group STS, and a £585million settlement related to a Turkish-facing business it once owned.

In a trading update released last week, the company revealed that net retail and online gaming revenues on a pro forma basis declined in the three months ending September.

Yet for the first nine months of 2023, its gaming revenue increased by 10 per cent at constant currency levels, or 14 per cent when including revenue from the BetMGM joint venture. 

Commenting on the results, Nygaard-Andersen said: ‘Entain has undergone a profound transformation over the last few years and now has strong foundations from which to move into its next phase of growth.

‘We have made significant investments in responsible gambling initiatives. While these steps have impacted EBITDA, they are unquestionably the right thing to do to improve our long-term prospects.’

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