Ladbrokes boosted by machine bets

LADBROKES reported an increase in third-quarter underlying operating profit yesterday as a sharp rise in winnings from gambling machines offset a decline in bets placed over the counter at its shops.

The UK’s second-biggest bookmaker, which on Monday pulled out of talks to buy online rival Sportingbet, made an operating profit of £49.7m in the last quarter, up 8.5 per cent after stripping out the boost from the football World Cup to last year’s numbers.

Ladbrokes, which has nearly 2,100 betting shops in the UK, said yesterday net revenue was up 2.5 per cent in the period, including a two per cent rise in UK retail revenue.

Gross win – total bets minus payouts – from gambling machines grew by more than 20 per cent while over-the-counter net revenue was down 8.3 per cent.

The company said it had benefited from offering new games on its machines and was confident of achieving further double-digit growth from machines in the remainder of the year.