Reporting on business during the four months to April 30 this week, British betting group Ladbrokes revealed that operating profits excluding bets placed by "high rollers" rose 13 percent – mainly on a rise in soccer betting and a bigger take from gaming machines. Gross win was up 16 percent.
The company excluded high roller bets from its calculations on the grounds that this sort of action is sporandic and tends to make company performance too volatile.
"Particularly strong" growth in soccer betting was experienced, driven by a high-profile TV advertising campaign, the European Champions League and from a 26 percent rise in gross win from FOBT gaming machines.
Profit from high rollers was GBP 40 million – boosting gross win to 34 percent – despite slower activity.
The company reported that the 25 shops it acquired in Italy are trading well, while the rollout of new licences continues with seven shops and 21 corners (shops within shops) now open. CEO Chris Bell said Ladbrokes expects to have "well over 100 open" by the year end. In Spain, the group expects to have 70 outlets open by the end of the year.
In the online gaming operations, Ladbrokes saw a rise in net gaming revenue of 24 percent, with new player signups increasing by 27 percent. Net revenues from online poker fell 2 percent in a highly competitive market, but online casino and sportsbook interest and performance were strong. Ladbrokes, which has used television advertising in the UK to good effect recently, plans to increase the marketing intensity for online gaming products.
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