British betting giant Ladbrokes has released its preliminary results for 2008 showing a 4.5 percent drop in revenues compared to the year before alongside a 27.6 percent decline in profits after tax.
Ladbrokes is the firm behind popular online casino and sportsbook Ladbrokes.com and reported revenues for last year of £1.17 billion compared to £1.2 billion for the previous year.
Profits after tax for continuing operations were quoted as £211.4 million, which was down from the £292.1 million reported for 2007, while operating profits dropped 23 percent to £323.9 million from £420.7 million.
However, it is not all bad news for Ladbrokes as it also announced that net gaming revenues for its eGaming division increased by 20 percent over the year with new customer sign-ups growing by 21.5 percent to 373,000. In addition, the number of unique active players using Ladbrokes.com also increased by 20.8 percent to 726,000.
Ladbrokes stated that the improving nature of its online business came on the back of a new eGaming strategy announced in February of last year that saw it advertise LadbrokesBingo.com and LadbrokesCasino.com on television in the UK alongside tailouring regional content to more effectively satisfy its customer base. It addition, it introduced several content innovations including increased opportunities for betting in-play.
“The competitive environment for poker remains extremely challenging and, in the second week of February, we joined the Microgaming network to improve the liquidity on higher staking tables,” read a statement from Ladbrokes.
“We have always been clear that the frequency of high rollers activity is unpredictable and, although not as active as 2007, high rollers contributed £80.1 million of profit during 2008, a very material source of cashflow.”
“Notwithstanding the challenging economic background, Ladbrokes has continued to grow during 2008 with group gross win, excluding high rollers, increasing 11.1 percent and group operating profit, excluding higher rollers, up 0.9 percent, slightly ahead of market expectations,” said Christopher Bell, Chief Executive Officer for Ladbrokes.