Ladbrokes posted its Q3 numbers Thursday morning, reporting a 2.5% bump in group net revenue for the three-month period ending Sept. 30. Operating profit was £49.7m, a 2.7% dip from 2010 (or an 8.5% rise, provided you exclude last year’s World Cup impact, as we’re sure the Lads have chosen to see it). Retail net revenue at the company’s 2,100 UK betting shops grew 2%, helped by a 20.4% rise in machine gross win (£866 per machine this year compared to £723 in 2010).
Overall sportsbook handle rose 6.4% and the company saw new sportsbook player signups rise 39.8% for the quarter and 86% since launching a renewed marketing push in August. High rollers had a bad summer, sticking Lads with a mere £0.7m loss, compared to £4.4m in 2010. Telephone net revenue fell 5.6%, although gross win margin was up slightly. Digital net revenue fell only 0.7% thanks to the casino division, whose strong performance tried to apologize for lower sportsbook and poker returns. Irish revenue was up 13.9%, while Belgian operations were up 133.3% based largely on a favorable change in the country’s tax laws.
Despite the gloom surrounding the Lads since their wedding date with Sportingbet was called off (much like Lads’ failed tie-up with 888) over the weekend, Ladbrokes stock closed at 128p on Wednesday, up 6p on the day. That’s 15p above its Oct. 4 nadir of 113p, but a far cry from the 150p heights it was hitting in July, when all the heady talk of acquisitions was still burgeoning with promise. Nonetheless, CEO Richard Glynn claims Lads is on track to meet its full year expectations and is “making good progress on the delivery of our operational and technological milestones,” including the launch of its new online sportsbook, expected in Q1 2012. But somehow we suspect the unveiling of the new ‘SportingLads’ logo was what shareholders were really expecting for Christmas.