Never mind the St Leger, football lifts Ladbrokes


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The Independent Online

Ladbrokes reported a 94 per cent jump in operating profits for the past three months yesterday, taking some of the pressure off its chief executive Richard Glynn, who has struggled against rival William Hill in recent years.

Germany’s win at the World Cup, Manchester United’s poor league performance and Manchester City’s stumbles in Europe helped bookies in the July to September quarter.

Mr Glynn, who has been striving to improve Ladbrokes’ digital betting side, said: “We are on track. We have done a great deal and operationally can see the change happening, but there is still an awful lot to do.”

He also said it was inevitable more betting shops will close. The company shut 49 in the first half and will shut another 40 in the second. “The size of our estate will be smaller than it is today as we face new and increased taxes and tougher rules on social responsibility.”

Helped by that run of good football results, operating profits rose 94 per cent to £33m in the quarter on revenues up 13 per cent. But not everything went in the bookie’s favour. In the St Leger, which Ladbrokes sponsors, the firm favourite Kingston Hill won at 9-4 to the delight of punters.