Ladbrokes betting on digital growth as revenues hit £1bn

LADBROKES chief executive Richard Glynn said yesterday he is betting on the troublesome revamp of its digital operation finally paying off this year.

The bookie’s £50m online facelift had been repeatedly delayed, and saw the sacking of digital operations head Richard Ames in July last year.

The revamp finally started to go live at the end of last year, and Glynn said he expected much higher online sales in 2013, especially towards the second half of the year. The company has recently announced the €30m (£26m) purchase of Irish betting website Betdaq in a bid to ramp up digital revenues.

Yesterday, Ladbrokes revealed that annual profits had risen above £1bn, up 7.4 per cent from 2011. Pre-tax profit rose by 49 per cent to £201m.

Many sports bookies enjoyed a bumper 2012 due to upsets such as Chelsea’s Champions League victory as well as surprising defeats for the country’s top football teams.

“We expect... to drive growth in digital revenues and earnings, particularly during the second half of the year,” Glynn said.

• Online bookie Sportingbet’s shareholders yesterday approved its £485m sale to Ladbrokes rival William Hill. The takeover, which had needed 75 per cent approval, was waved through by shareholders controlling 87.2 per cent of the company. The deal will now go through on 19 March.