OUTLOOK: Ladbrokes' chief puts his money on World Cup result

 

Outlook Is Ladbrokes' decision to pay a dividend uncovered by earnings a sign of desperation or of confidence?

The bookmaker's problems are well documented. Its shops are getting hit by increased taxes and tighter regulation. The online offering has struggled to attract customers because its technology has lagged well behind rivals. Its chief executive Richard Glynn admits the company is at least six months behind where he wanted it to be.

Ladbrokes is at least still making money, but the £67.6m profit it reported for 2013 is about a third of the 2012 total. As a result investors are restive, with the rumblings about Mr Glynn's future getting louder.

The flipside to this story is Playtech and the forthcoming World Cup. The former has been hired to rejuvenate the bookie's online offering. Controlled by the Israeli billionaire Teddy Sagi, it is an eccentric company to say the least. Its involvement with Ladbrokes' great rival William Hill, for example, produced a string of lurid but entertaining (to those on the outside) headlines.

However, what no one debates is the quality of Playtech's kit, which is widely regarded to be about as good as it gets. The contract with Ladbrokes pays it more when the bookie earns more, so there's a powerful incentive to play nice, and things finally appear to be moving in the right direction.

With the World Cup fast approaching, this set of results could ultimately be seen as the bookie's nadir, particularly if Ladbrokes puts its neck on the line and offers the best price on England winning, a strategy that has made it millions at previous tournaments.

Mr Glynn is talking a good game. Now he just needs his shareholders to keep him on the pitch long enough to prove that the happy scenario he is outlining proves to be a realistic one rather than the sort of pipedream that keeps his customers betting on England to win the World Cup.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Recruitment Genius: Client Services Assistant

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Client Services Assistant is ...

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor