In the UK, Ladbrokes has announced its results for the previous six months revealing a 30 percent drop in profits after wins by favourites at the Royal Ascot horseracing festival alongside cost increases and fewer telephone wagers.
The London-based firm owns more than 2,300 betting shops in the UK and Ireland and stated that net incomes fell 16 percent to $182.97 million from $262.58 million a year earlier. It revealed that its UK operations had suffered with profits falling marginally to $191.35 million despite a strong start to the year.
British bookmakers are struggling with higher costs following new gaming laws that freed them to open into the evening alongside a monopoly challenge from Turf TV on horseracing broadcasts. The slowing economy has not helped either as telephone customers bet less and Ladbrokes revealed that profit margins in June were ‘unusually low’ due to poor results at the five-day Ascot meeting and the European soccer championships.
Ladbrokes stated that most of the fall came from the loss of gamblers betting large sums to rivals located in tax havens or countries with loose gaming rules. Profit from high rollers fell one-third to $80 million while the number of unique customers also dropped 7,200 to 90,200.
'June suffered a string of poor results affecting all channels, most notably Royal Ascot and the early stages of Euro 2008,” said Christopher Bell, Chief Executive Officer for Ladbrokes.
Bookies had to pay out heavily on Euro 2008 when one of the pre-tournament favourites, Spain, won the competition. In addition, Royal Ascot also produced a number of favourites that won their races including the Gold Cup and the King George V Stakes.
However, Ladbrokes did increase its total gross win by six per cent to $1.26 billion while its interim dividend has increased by five percent per share.