Sun, Apr 23, 1:05pm by Staff Writer
British-based betting conglomerate Ladbrokes Coral Group Plc recently raved about the performance of its Australian offshoot, reporting rapidly rising revenue during a 2016 full year earnings call.
Speaking with 11 research and investment analysts representing worldwide interests, Ladbrokes Coral Group chief executive officer and director Jim Mullen spoke glowingly of the Ladbrokes.com.au online bookmaker:
“In Australia, we continue to knock it out of the park, staking up 68 per cent, with net revenue up 67 per cent.
And we will continue with a challenge of brand main sets. Constantly, we’re looking at innovation and new ways to engage the customer.”
The earnings call took place on March 28, the same day Ladbrokes Coral released its final financial reports for the prior year.
Within that document, Mullen outlined the company’s objective when entering the Australian market back in 2013, when Ladbrokes acquired the Bookmaker.com.au platform:
“In Australia, we deliberately acquired a business determined to take on established players through product innovation and leading customer relationship management.”
Three years after the launch of Ladbrokes.com.au, the vertical reported a 61 percent rise in active user count, which Mullen attributed to the successful “Up for the Challenge” branding campaign.
During the conference call, Ladbrokes Coral Group chief financial officer Paul Bowtell revealed the scope of the Ladbrokes.com.au site across Australia.
According to Bowtell, the platform partners with a network of over 1,800 convenience stores and newsstands to allows punters access to their online accounts.
As the conference call progressed, equity analyst Edward Young of Morgan Stanley asked Mullen about the potential impact of South Australia’s planned point of consumption tax, which will be rolled out in July. The new tax would deduct 15 percent of all net wagering revenue from online bookmakers, based on the location where wagers were placed – not where the bookies themselves are based.
Mullen responded by reiterating the success of Ladbrokes’ imprint in Australia, before revealing that industrywide fears over point of consumption taxes aren’t affecting the company’s overall approach in the country:
“With regard to the strategy for Australia, I mean, frankly, we’ve been delighted with the growth rates that we have there. We didn’t see as an executive any reason to change that.
With regard to POCT, obviously, with, in Australia you’re seeing in one of the territories a 3% impact on POCT. And it’s been announced that that might spread across the estate. If that happens, we’ll deal with it.
We have some mitigating plans in place to address that, but we’re just waiting for the regulators to give us some more information.”
One reason Mullen offered for Ladbrokes.com.au thriving in Australia is the steady stewardship of Jason Scott, one of the original founders of Bookmaker.com.au who stayed aboard after that company was acquired and absorbed.
According to Mullen, who recently returned to the U.K. from an Australian visit to install Scott as interim-CEO, the local’s leadership has proved to be invaluable in recent years:
“We’re not long back from Australia, we’ve just spent just a little over a week over there with the new management team and appointing the Chief Executive. A lot of those days the new Chief Executive has been with us.
Jason Scott has been with the steering team for the five years since we did the deal, and the management team have been there for the medium to long term as well.”
The three major Ladbrokes Coral bookmaker markets – the U.K., Australia, and Italy – accounted for GBP£310 million in revenue, up 51 percent over 2015. Of that increase, Australia’s 67 percent jump beat out spikes of 54 percent in Italy, and 44 percent in the U.K.
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