Favourites dent profits at bookmaker Ladbrokes

A BOOST from World Cup betting failed to prevent a slide in profits at Ladbrokes as the bookmaker counted the cost of unfavourable sporting results.

Ladbrokes: falling profits. Picture: PA

The firm today unveiled a near-halving of profits to £27.7 million for the first six months of the year, compared to £55m last time.

Operating profits from its UK shops dropped more than a fifth, after some tough trading weeks, particularly for football in January. There was also a higher than average percentage of favourites winning horse races.

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In a statement, the company said: “The major flat festivals in the period at Epsom and Ascot were particularly customer-friendly, with Ascot seeing 14 winning favourites in 30 races. We recorded losses in both festivals.”

Group chief executive Richard Glynn said the business made all its planned operational improvements in time for the World Cup, including new gaming machines and its service allowing the public to bet on sport and play casino games from one account. There was a successful focus on gambling on football, with stakes in the 2013/14 football season increasing 25 per cent on the previous year.

“Our offer performed well, delivering a great betting experience for our customers and a good result for the business in a highly competitive market,” Glyn added.

Glynn was upbeat on prospects, saying: “We now have the products, the platforms, the people and the brand in place to deliver. Ladbrokes today is a far stronger company and positioned for growth.”