A good run of results at the Cheltenham racing festival and the popularity of gambling machines helped Ladbrokes toast a rise in profits today.
The UK’s second biggest bookmaker said revenues at its 2,000-strong shop estate were up 9% in first three months of 2012, boosted by a 22% rise in machine revenues and a resilient demand for over-the-counter bets.
Operating profits rose 3.9% to £50.4 million as its gross win margin was higher than normal, helped by more punters losing at Cheltenham.
Its digital business saw growth of 5.9% but profits were down as a result of its two-year £50 million investment programme to help it catch up with online rivals.
The firm has pulled out of talks to buy online 888 and Sportingbet in recent months and has recently vowed to turn around its struggling poker division.
Chief executive Richard Glynn said the investment was starting to pay off, with the UK online sportsbook up 22%, and remained confident the business would see profits growth in the second half of 2012.