Owner of Ladbrokes and Coral looks set to have raked in profits of nearly £2m a day last year
The owner of Ladbrokes and Coral looks set to have raked in profits of nearly £2m a day last year.
GVC, whose brands also include Sportingbet, Party Poker and Foxy Bingo, said profits in 2019 were at the top end of expectations of between £670m and £680m.
The bumper haul came despite a crackdown on the gambling industry, including a new £2 maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals in its stores.
Cash cow: The bumper haul came despite a crackdown on the gambling industry, including a new £2 maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals in its stores
The machines, known as FOBTs, have been dubbed the crack cocaine of gambling because of their addictive nature.
The update from GVC comes days after the gambling regulator announced that users will be banned from using credit cards to make online bets from April.
GVC chief executive Kenny Alexander, who has been paid more than £37m in the past two years, hailed an ‘excellent’ performance in 2019.
Shares, which peaked at 1170p in 2018 before falling as low as 507p last year, closed down 2.5 per cent, or 23.6p, at 910.2p. Despite posting lower sales from its High Street bookmakers, the firm said its UK retail arm was performing ahead of its forecasts.
And GVC said group net gaming revenue increased by 2 per cent for the year despite retail decline.
UK retail like-for-like revenues dived 12 per cent over the year and 11 per cent over the final three months of 2019, due to the impact of new restrictions on FOBTs.
In April, the Government reduced the maximum stake on the terminals from £100 to £2 to help address problem gambling. Bookies announced significant High Street closures as a result, with Ladbrokes ploughing ahead with plans to close 900 shops by April 2021.
The company said it saw a 31 per cent decline in revenues from its machines in the final quarter as a result of the legislation, while over-the-counter revenues increased by 17 per cent.
Alexander, 50, said: ‘The group’s operational and financial performance in 2019 has been excellent.’