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Ladbrokes reports jump in profits

Ladbrokes overcame a fall in bets staked at its shop counters due to the online demand for in-play wagers, and the continued roll-out of gaming machines at its UK high street retail division.

The reported jump in annual profits of around 20% to £202.3 million, against a 7% fall in bets staked at its shop counters. Ladbrokes said that the high street business it did was affected by the economic climate, and the loss of some significant horse racing fixtures due to the weather.

Apart from closing 30 shops in the year, Ladbrokes opened 40, and refurbished another 102. This year, it plans to open 50 shops whilst closing another 20.

Online profits rose by 36% to £62.7 million, with a boost from the world cup revenue. Ladbrokes have lagged behind rivals in developing a growing an online strategy, which in today’s business is seen as an absolute necessity. Bets staked at shop counters have been in decline since the proliferation of online gambling websites.

Chief executive, Richard Glynn, has been the driving force behind the online push at Ladbrokes. He says that the group is in good shape. He also says that the company is to invest £50 million during 2011 and 2012 in order to improve its technology, after its recent launching of new mobile phone apps.

Richard Berry
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