Revenues of British bookmaker Ladbrokes Coral was in for a gallop until it hit a bump that forced it to fumble by the end of the first quarter.
Ladbrokes Coral announced on Thursday that a tough high street environment dampened its first quarter net revenues, which rose a modest five percent. The company’s shares fell 4 percent after the update.
The FTSE 250-listed company saw a 7 percent drop in sports bets made over the counter in the first three months of the year. In the words of Ladbrokes Coral Group CEO, Jim Mullen: “Sporting results in the UK gave with one hand and took with the other.”
“UK Retail OTC stakes continue to exhibit the negative trends reported since the middle of 2016, driven by the challenging UK High Street environment and our own focus on the multi–channel opportunity,” Mullen said in a statement on Thursday.
The sportsbook started strong in January thanks in part to friendly football results. It, however, went downhill in February and in March, while April 4 saw very poor midweek football results with 14 out of 15 of the best backed teams winning.
Ladbrokes also failed to catch a break in the European market. The betting firm reported that its European Retail net revenue dropped 15 percent as football results in Italy were the worst on record.
The only saving grace for the betting firm was the Cheltenham festival, which the company said had been kind to sportsbooks. The annual horseracing festival, which took place in March, featured a string of upsets that left punters out of pocket.
Online betting turnover, which jumped 22 percent, also helped Ladbrokes Coral achieve positive net revenue growth.
Meanwhile, Mullen reported that the integration of Ladbrokes and Coral was now progressing “with significant changes” undertaken in the company’s Digital operations. He added that Ladbrokes has also commenced large scale moves of colleagues from Rayners Lane to Stratford, in line with its property plans.
The company also predicted that the Government’s triennial review of the gambling industry would be delayed until the autumn with the general election set for June.
“The calling of the General Election is likely to mean a delay in the Triennial Review process and while there is no indication of updated time frames, we are minded to agree with the general view that Q3 2017 is the most likely timing of the next stage of the consultation. We expect the Point of Consumption Tax on gaming free bets to be implemented within the timeframes previously announced (October 2017),” Mullen said.