Chips are down for Ladbrokes as profits drop 66%

Richard Glynn, the chain's boss, has a few months to hit six key 'milestones'. These figures aren't encouraging.

by Rachel Savage

Looks like luck is running out for Ladbrokes chief exec Richard Glynn. The boss of the UK’s second largest bookmaker admitted this morning that pre-tax profits for 2013 had fallen to £67.6m, a 66% drop on the £200.7m Ladbrokes posted in 2012. He faces the axe if he doesn't transform the business in the next few months, Ouch.

The bookies said profits were dragged down by £51.6m of ‘exceptional costs’ from moving to online gaming software from Playtech, the company that helped Ladbrokes’ rival William Hill grow its successful internet business. However, revenues at its betting shop chain were also down 5.5% to £1.1bn.

Glynn called the results ‘disappointing’ - which, considering he was given an ultimatum by investors two days ago to hit six key ‘milestones’ (mainly related to progress online) by the summer bet-fest that is the football World Cup or face the axe in August, was something of an understatement.

The chief exec tried his best to remain chipper. ‘We made real operational progress which has continued into this year.  We remain confident about the direction of the business and the momentum we are creating.’

Nonetheless, after a turbulent 2013 which saw the chain shock markets with no fewer than four profit warnings, Glynn had better hope that Labrokes' latest bet with Playtech pays off.

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