Reduction in High Street betting shop plans could free up GBP40 million for the burgeoning digital operations
The Telegraph newspaper reports that British gambling group Ladbrokes is expected to announce plans to halt the introduction of new High Street betting shops, currently the subject of political concern.
By doing this, the company could reduce capital expenditure from GBP 100 million to GBP 60 million, freeing up GBP 40 million to accelerate the further development of the company's burgeoning online gambling strategy.
With over 2,300 retail betting shops, many offering the much-maligned Fixed Odds Betting Terminals, Ladbrokes is among the highest of the High Street betting profiles, yet the company has still had to issue profit warnings in recent months as it struggles to make more of a success of its digital operations following a relatively new agreement with Playtech plc.
The Telegraph notes that with increasing political pressure for restrictions on FOBTs, and tighter local council controls over betting shop openings, the Ladbrokes preference for digital is perhaps sensible.
A Ladbrokes spokesman appeared to confirm at least part of the newspaper report, commenting:
"This year we are likely to be a net closer of shops as we focus on optimising our investments in the retail estate and look to deal with some of the non-contributing shops."
UPDATE: Ladbrokes subsequently confirmed that it will be closing 40-50 High Street betting shop outlets in the near future.
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