Football flops are a good bet for Ladbrokes

The gods have been on the side of the bookies when it came to football results recently, Ladbrokes' chief executive Richard Glynn has said.

"In the last quarter of 2012 and into this year we have benefited from favourable results, particularly in football," Mr Glynn said. "It began with Chelsea's exit from the Champions League and continues with the inconsistency of Chelsea, Arsenal and even my own team Leeds."

That helped Ladbrokes increase operating profits by 8 per cent to £206m. When high-roller punters, who had a particularly bad year, are included profits were up 26 per cent to £236m. Revenues rose 7.4 per cent to £1.05bn.

Ladbrokes, lagging behind rivals in online and mobile gaming, said recent investment means it will catch up by the second half.

Ladbrokes also plans 100 more shops this year and will put Sky Sports screens into all 2,200 of its shops to extend the sports punters can bet on, including rugby union, tennis and boxing. The new 20 per cent machine gaming duty will cost it £14m a year.

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