Belfast Telegraph

Ladbrokes bookies' online sales balance the books as retail takings struggle

By Ben Woods

Revenues at Ladbrokes Coral have bounced back as strong growth from the digital business offset a drop in takings at the betting giant's retail stores.

Ladbrokes Coral, the FTSE 250 firm which has the subsidiary, Northwest Bookmakers here in NI, said group net revenue had grown 3% for the four months to October 29, with the digital arm clocking a 12% rise thanks to an 18% jump from online gaming firm Sportsbook.

It proved a brighter performance compared to the second quarter and the half year when revenues fell 2% and rose 1% respectively. And while the digital business recorded a double-digit jump over the period, revenues at the retail stores fell by 1% as like-for-like revenue from betting machines came in flat.

Shares were down more than 1% in morning trading, as the firm said its performance was in line with its annual targets.

Chief executive Jim Mullen said: "Our digital performance is strong and the Ladbrokes brand in Australia and the Eurobet brand in Italy continue to post very strong revenue growth.

"In UK Retail, performance improved in line with our expectations, primarily driven by the return of all horse-racing content to our shops."

Ladbrokes Coral, which has more than 30 stores here operating under Northwest Bookmakers, was created from the £2.3 billion merger of Ladbrokes and Gala Coral. It said European retail revenues rose 17% as win margins across Italy returned to "normal levels".

And revenues at Coral.co.uk grew by 13% amid a competitive UK market, while Ladbrokes.com fell by 9%.

The update comes after the firm agreed to a £2.3 million penalty package from the Gambling Commission last week for failings which saw two high-spending customers gamble away around £1.3 million of stolen money.

The company was sanctioned after an investigation into sub-brand Gala Interactive found "significant flaws" in the way it dealt with punters with problem gambling.

Belfast Telegraph

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