BUSINESS

Ladbrokes’ profit leaps on “huge increase” in in-play sports wagers

TAGs: Betdaq, in-play betting, Ladbrokes, Richard Glynn

ladbrokes-2012-profit-upUK bookies Ladbrokes reported a 7.4% revenue rise in 2012, aided by a string of “favorable” sports results in Q4. Ladbrokes’ full-year revenues hit £1.05b, while operating profit rose 8% to £206.1m, pre-tax profits leaped 49.1% to £200.7m and net profits jumped 61% to £190.3m. Earnings rose 20.3% to 18.4p per share and net debt was reduced 14.8% to £386.9m. Sports betting revenue rose 26.1%, thanks to what CEO Richard Glynn (pictured smiling at right) called a “huge increase” in in-play wagers, which Glynn said now account for 60% of total sportsbook handle. Poker revenues slipped 23.2% to £10.9m in 2012, the third consecutive year of double-digit declines.

Lads’ retail operations posted an 8.2% revenue rise to a record £739.5m. Retail operating profit rose 18.6% to £180.7m and profit per shop rose 15.7% to £82k. Retail OTC revenue rose 3.8% thanks to an improved 16.7% gross win margin, while machine revenue rose 13.9% to £339.9m and Lads is planning to roll out the next generation of fixed-odds betting terminals in Q4. Lads will add 100 net new UK shops this year and Glynn promised to boost the number of Lads’ shops offering Skysports screens from the current 200 to the full UK complement of 2,200 shops. Lads operates a total of 2,700 shops across the UK, Ireland, Belgium and Spain. Retail operations outside the UK rose 50% to £20.2m, boosted by strong showings in Ireland and Belgium (Spain, not so much).

Lads’ much-maligned online offering saw revenue rise 9% to £178.1m, but online profits slipped 39% to £31.8m, weighed down by investments in marketing and technology. Mobile revenue nearly doubled, up 93.6%. Lads’ online efforts should get a boost from the oft-delayed launch of its new sportsbook and mobile platforms, which are now expected to see the light of day in Q1 and Q2 respectively. Glynn said Lads was finally seeing “some moderately encouraging signs of payback” from its online investments and Glynn has high hopes for Lads’ new Betdaq acquisition, saying the betting exchange will help turn Lads into a “one-stop shop.” Glynn said also said 2013 was off to a “promising start,” with revenue up 7.2% over the first six weeks of 2013.

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