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GVC eyes top-end profits as punters switch back from machines
17th January, 07:51The bookmaker expressed confidence that it was "well placed for a successful 2020" as it further integrates the Ladbrokes Coral acquisition and grows its US sports betting joint venture
GVC Holdings PLC (LSE:GVC) said declines at its UK bookmakers shops were not as bad as it expected last year and that strong online betting momentum continued in the fourth quarter.
As a result of this and continued improvement in betting margins, the Ladbrokes and Sportingbet owner said underlying profits will be towards to top end of its latest guidance for an underlying profit of £670-680mln.
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Guidance was lifted in November from £650mln-£670mln.
Like-for-like net gaming revenue at UK betting shops dropped 11% in the fourth quarter, meaning it was down 12% over calendar 2019.
The fall in retail was due to the cut in the maximum stake allowed on fixed-odds betting machines, with revenue from the 'crack cocaine of gambling' down 31% in the quarter, but partly offset by a 17% rise in over the counter betting as punters shifted their cash onto sports betting instead.
Group net gaming revenue rose 2% for the year, helped by 13% growth for online revenue, 4% growth for European retail and "strong" online revenues growth for the Roar Digital sports betting joint venture in the US.
"The group's operational and financial performance in 2019 has been excellent with the strong momentum reported at Q3 continuing throughout Q4," said chief executive Kenneth Alexander.
He said that the board was confident that GVC was "well placed for a successful 2020" from further integration of the Ladbrokes Coral acquisition and Roar.