Ladbrokes had online to thank as the rest of the group showed its reliance on the World Cup for last summer’s impressive figures. Operating profit for the entire company was down 16.8% for the first half of 2011 compared with last year dropping from £103.6m to £87.6m. Net revenue for the company also suffered a fall from £492.1m to £487.8m. The company did provide the figures without the impact of last summer’s tournament and they showed that net revenue rose by 2.8% with operating profit up by 16.9%.
Chief executive Richard Glynn commented, “In the face of challenging economic conditions it is pleasing to see good levels of underlying growth in both the UK Retail and Digital businesses. We are making good progress in executing our strategy, taking immediate and practical steps to improve the business and also working towards achieving our technology milestones. In UK Retail we are confident of delivering continued strong growth from machines whilst further demonstrating robust cost control and the ability to drive operating efficiencies.”
In terms of the company’s digital division, net revenue saw a small increase of 0.1% compared with last year. It represents an impressive figure considering that the World Cup is taken into account. Poker was the firm’s biggest loser in this area as net revenue was down 30.8%. Bingo continued to show how popular it is in the UK right now as its net revenue rose by 9.1%.
Glynn added, “We have taken significant steps to becoming more competitive online. Our new contract with Microgaming offers us more flexibility to work with other suppliers, thereby improving content, whilst continued enhancements to our website make it more functional, easier to use and engaging for customers.”
The amount of customers using their mobiles to carry out bets jumped from 7% last year to 18%. It again shows the online gambling industry love affair with the phone is continuing to blossom. The Lads are also planning to extend horseracing streaming via mobile devices in the second half of 2011 to cover 100% of UK races.