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Ladbroke pounds 9m down on new game

DISAPPOINTING sales of its new football lottery game Easy Play will wipe pounds 9m off Ladbroke's profits this year, the hotels and betting group said yesterday.

In an update on third quarter trading, Ladbroke said that sales of the game, linked to the National Lottery, "have not been at predicted levels". Easy Play, launched in August, had a turnover of pounds 800,000 a week, well below the company's expectations of "a few millions", a spokesman said. The lesiure group reported an advance of around 20 per cent in third quarter profits. The performance was driven by a good showing in its betting business which offset some weakness in the Hilton hotels division.

Investment column, page 25