Belfast Telegraph

Ladbrokes beats the punters despite 'painful losses' at racing festivals

Betting giant Ladbrokes has bolstered revenues for the fourth consecutive quarter despite "cursing" painful losses at the summer racing festivals.

The British bookmaker said group net revenue climbed 12.1% in three months to the end of September, boosted in part by the European Championships - with the bookies finishing "comfortably in front" of the punters.

But the firm said it was trumped by customers at the Glorious Goodwood and Ebor horse racing festivals, leaving it nursing "two very painful" losses.

The update comes after Ladbrokes and Gala Coral moved one step closer to sealing their £2.3 billion merger on Monday by offloading 359 betting shops in an attempt to allay competition concerns.

The deal will see rival Betfred shell out £55 million for 322 high street outlets and Stan James pay £500,000 for 37.

Jim Mullen, chief executive, said Ladbrokes' strategy of appealing to "recreational customers" was driving growth and it was on course to meet its full-year targets.

"Across all our key pillars, we have been encouraged by the customer reaction. We have delivered growth for a fourth successive quarter in group net revenue, and in an 11th in sportsbook staking and an eighth in gaming," he said.

He added: "I said at our half year results in August that sporting results would turn against us and in racing they promptly did.

"However, we did enjoy a strong end to the Euros and a stuttering start to the season for Manchester United and Barcelona has been in our favour."

Shares in Ladbrokes were up more than 1% on the London Stock Exchange.