Ladbrokes digital a Q3 star; Boylesports to challenge Lads-Coral shop sale

Ladbrokes digital a Q3 star; Boylesports to challenge Lads-Coral shop sale

Ladbrokes digital a Q3 star; Boylesports to challenge Lads-Coral shop saleUK-listed betting operator Ladbrokes says it enjoyed a strong showing by its digital division, thanks to a near doubling in its Australian revenue.

On Tuesday, Ladbrokes issued a trading update covering the three months ending Sept. 30, in which overall revenue improved 12%, despite “two very painful, loss-making meetings” at this year’s Glorious Goodwood and the Ebor meeting in York.

Digital revenue jumped 48.2%, spurred by a nearly one-third rise at the site and Lads’ betting exchanges. Online sportsbook revenue surged 48% and mobile stakes rose nearly one-third, representing 79% of all digital stakes. Online gaming improved nearly 24%, the 8th straight quarter of year-on-year growth.

In Australia, net revenue was up 89.6% as active customer ranks grew 42.5% and stakes rose 50.6%.

UK retail revenue was up a modest 1.9%. OTC betting revenue was “broadly flat” due to stakes falling 4.3%, although football stakes were up 17.3% thanks to generous promotions. Stakes placed via BetStation self-service betting terminals rose 77%, representing 10% of all OTC stakes. Gross win from fixed-odds betting terminals improved 4.6%.

European retail revenue was up 11.3% as OTC stakes rose 9.5% in Belgium and 7.9% in Ireland.

Ladbrokes CEO Jim Mullen said the company was waiting on the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to give its seal of approval to the recently announced sale of 359 Ladbrokes and Coral betting shops to rivals Betfred and Stan James. Following receipt of the CMA’s approval, Ladbrokes and Gala Coral Group will press forward with their merger plans.

But Irish betting operator Boylesports, which had expressed interest in acquiring some of those Lads-Coral shops in order to enter the UK retail betting market, says it plans to raise the matter with the CMA based on Boylesports’ view that the sale would be “bad for retail customers.”

When Lads-Coral announced the sale, they admitted that they’d received more lucrative offers for the shops in question but the Betfred-Stan James offer “delivered greater certainty which was critical to paving the way for the completion” of the Lads-Coral merger.

Boylesports says its bid was not only higher but “fully-funded … and could have been completed within two weeks of acceptance.” Boylesports believes UK consumers would have derived greater benefit from “a challenger brand” like itself entering the market with “keen pricing and excellent service” of the kind it already offers its Irish customers. Boylesports says it will be contacting the CMA with its concerns while “reviewing its options on what other steps may be open to us.”