BUSINESS

Ladbrokes Coral’s digital ops outshining retail in H1

TAGs: Arena Racing Company, ladbrokes coral

ladbrokes-coral-digital-outshines-retail-bettingUK-listed gambling operator Ladbrokes Coral’s first half of 2017 featured a strong online performance while retail operations lagged.

In a trading update released on Thursday, Lads Coral said it remained on track to meet its full-year 2017 expectations. Group revenue over the six months to June 30 was up only 1% from H1 2016 but operating profit is expected to come in between £153.3m to £153.8m, up 4% to 7% over the same period last year.

Digital net revenue gained 21% year-on-year (14% in constant currency terms), thanks largely to sports betting, which saw revenue and stakes rise 25% and 23%, respectively, despite H1 2016 benefiting from the bulk of the Euro 2016 football tournament.

Digital gaming revenue was up 11% year-on-year. This week saw Ladbrokes relaunch its Playtech-powered Live Casino, which features a new studio design and enhanced functionality, including a video messaging system that offers players greater interaction direct from the table.

Things appear less rosy on the UK retail front, where revenue was 6% off H1 2016’s figure. Over the counter wagering revenue and stakes were down 11% and 7%, respectively, while fixed-odds betting terminal revenue was 1% off last year’s figure.

The retail situation was in a similar rut on the European continent despite wagering stakes rising 17%, as punter-friendly football results left revenue 1% behind H1 2016.

On a more positive note (unless you’re a redundant staffer), the expected synergies from last year’s merger of Ladbrokes and Gala Coral Group are expected to hit £45m this year, rising to £130m next year and could top £150m by 2019, twice the sum the merger had been expected to produce. The company says its digital operations have now been successfully migrated to a single platform and the head office team has been officially locked in place.

Also in the ‘win’ column, the company hopes its retail wagering operations will get a boost now that Ladbrokes has resolved its squabble with the Arena Racing Company (ARC). Last week, Ladbrokes reached a profit-sharing deal with The Racing Partnership, which controls media rights to races at ARC tracks, that will see live racing broadcasts return to Ladbrokes retail betting shops.

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