Details of the industry's Black Saturday emerged as Stanley announced a 21 per cent rise in pre-tax profits for the half year to October from pounds 6.1m to pounds 7.4m. Striking a confident note about proposed changes in proposals to deregulate the betting industry, Mr Steinberg signalled a 20 per cent rise in the interim dividend to 1.2p a share.
Planned changes includeopening up 20 regions around the country to casinos. Stanley said it would be interested in making applications for seven or eight of these and would hope to be licensed to open casinos in at least three new sites.
Turnover in the casinos arm increased by 7.7 per cent with profits up almost 12 per cent to pounds 5.2m. Stanley's 533 betting shops, where profits rose from pounds 2.8m to pounds 4m, continued to slug it out with the National Lottery. Much of the improvement related to acquisitions, however, and analysts said like-for-like sales growth of 3 per cent was disappointing.
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