Ladbrokes eyes-up land based casinos

Ladbrokes PLC, Europe’s biggest bookmaker, reported an annual rise in pre-tax profit today and then confirmed they were interested in bidding for the licence to operate the UK’s first Las Vegas-style super-casino in Manchester.

Profits before tax rose by six per cent to £246.5 million from £232.1 million, slightly exceeding forecasts. Earning’s per share also rose from 12p to 22p. Ladbrokes said that its encouraging annual results had been mostly down to a good World Cup for the company where total gross win was £17.5 million.

In addition to vying for the right to operate the super-casino where they will face stiff competition from current favourites Kerzner International, Las Vegas Sands, Harrah’s Entertainment and MGM Mirage, Ladbrokes also confirmed its interest in operating several of the large and small casinos that are planned around the UK.

Ladbrokes seek to expand their operations, both domestically and internationally, stating that their protracted talks with the online casino company were still ongoing, but were encountering problems due to the US’s clampdown on internet gambling.

"We commenced discussions with 888 last November. These discussions continue and are complex because of the current conditions in the U.S.," said Ladbrokes chairman Ian Robinson in a statement.

Furthermore, Ladbrokes recently secured 142 betting licences in Italy and are in the hunt for further licences in Spain. Both European countries are being targeted by gambling firms as they relax betting laws and Ladbrokes are eager not to miss out on this opportunity.

"We expect our International channel to contribute 20 to 40 million pounds EBIT (earnings before interest and tax) per annum over the next three to five years and Italy and Spain will be central to this guidance." Ladbrokes said.

Editor, - 2007-02-22 10:55:12

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