Belfast Telegraph

Profits slip at bookies after World Cup bounce

By Philip Whiterow

Bookmaker Ladbrokes reported a slip in profits but said demand from UK punters was "relatively resilient" despite the squeeze on consumer budgets.

The group, which runs 2,100 betting shops across the UK, made a profit of £71.8m in the half year to June - lower than the £105.1m achieved a year ago when the World Cup boosted trading.

The amount staked by over-the-counter customers in the UK fell 2.3% to £1.25bn but this was more than offset by a 8.5% jump in machine gambling to £4.9bn in the half year.

The sum left by losing punters overall in the UK was down by 4.4% to £202.2m after a disastrous Cheltenham festival for the industry was countered by the Ascot, Epsom and Grand National meetings.

Ladbrokes said: "Though we remain cautious on the outlook for the UK economy, over-the-counter activity continues to be relatively resilient."

Revenues in July were up 13.6% when adjusting for the World Cup. Shares opened more than 1% higher yesterday.

Ladbrokes said the financial impact of the World Cup amounted to £12m.