Ladbrokes suffers sharp drop in profits

<p>Ladbrokes has reported a 49.7 per cent drop in pre-tax profits.</p>

Bookmaker Ladbrokes has suffered a significant drop in profits, falling by nearly half in the half year ending June 30th.

The company, which maintained that it had had a "good World Cup", reported a 49.7 per cent decline in pre-tax profits to £27.7 million. However, its chief executive Richard Glynn maintained that despite the drop the bookmaker was "well positioned for growth". The company is battling to rectify its struggling digital business which has long been one of its major downfalls.

Mr Glynn will now need to convince investors that he is the person to take the company forward over the years. Ladbrokes has been looking to improve its digital offering and secured a deal with gaming software group, Playtech, a year ago. However, due to Ladbrokes needing to see out its existing contract with Microgaming, growth with Playtech has been slower than expected and threatened to derail the company's World Cup performance.

"Our offer performed well, delivering a great betting experience for our customers and a good result for the business in a highly competitive market," Mr Glynn said.

"We have made substantial progress and while there is more to do there is also much to play for. We now have the products, the platform, the people and the brand in place to deliver."

The World Cup represented a huge opportunity for bookmakers across the world, with millions of people fancying a flutter on one of the biggest sporting events of the year. Television advert breaks were filled with bookmakers showing the latest odds for the match in question with in-play betting becoming increasingly prevalent.

Ladbrokes itself launched its 'The Ladbrokes Life' advertising campaign which showed various personas who would be most likely to bet during the World Cup. Typically male football supporters, Ladbrokes highlighted its target market for betting throughout the competition.

The bookmaker's share price was up 3.18 per cent to 134.8 as of 08:22 BST on August 12th.

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