Leaner Ladbrokes gains early profits boost

Leaner Ladbrokes gains early profits boost

Bookmaker Ladbrokes today said it boosted profits in January despite a raft of race meetings and sporting fixtures falling victim to the snow.

A clampdown on costs at Ladbrokes helped it deliver operating profits ahead of a year earlier, although punters staked 11% less at its 2,000 UK betting shops.

Staff at Ladbrokes are facing a pay freeze until next year while the group is also closing a call centre in Liverpool, which employs 263 people.

Pre-tax profits for last year were down 28% to £191.3m (€220m) as the firm suffered from recession and an historically low number of draws in football fixtures at the start of the season, which is bad news for bookies.

Chairman Peter Erskine said he recognised the “likely challenges” ahead, but added: “We have strengthened our balance sheet and are taking decisive cost actions which will leave us well positioned when the upturn comes.”

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