|BRITAIN'S gambling boom has sent sales at the Tote rising by almost half to £916m, ahead of next year's expected privatisation of the 75-year-old bookmaker. |
Telephone betting turnover rose 51% to £198m while its 435 High Street shops enjoyed a 50% gain. For the first time, off course turnover through shops was worth more than that at Britain's 59 racecourses.
Growth has been fuelled by the abolition of tax on punters and new fixed-odds betting terminals in shops. Traditional pool betting rose 16% to £221m.
However, margins were under pressure during the year to 20 March and the Tote's gross profit rose only 15% to £97m.
Chairman Peter Jones said profits had been squeezed by a high number of winning favourites, including nine outright market leaders at the Cheltenham Festival just before the financial year-end.