GVC, the gambling group that owns Ladbrokes Coral, today upgraded its full-year earnings following a strong performance in its online business.
Russ Mould from AJ Bell said: “The owner of Sportingbet and Ladbrokes appears to have come up trumps with its first half results. GVC raising its full year guidance in the face of a tough regulatory backdrop must feel to management like beating the house.
“The achievement is based on the strength of its online performance, and the fact the full year is flagged to be better than expected despite the potential costs associated with new German betting licences is impressive.
“The retail arm – read betting shops – is beginning to absorb the impact of the ban on fixed odds betting terminals and a more efficient operation is emerging as some outlets are closed. The US, where the company is partnering up with casino giant MGM is seen as a substantial opportunity.
“On the debit side, debt levels are elevated, and the company is likely to make deleveraging a priority in the short term. The company still felt comfortable enough with its financial position to deliver a 10% increase in the dividend.
“The risk for GVC and the wider industry is that they will have to work increasingly hard even to stand still as the rules governing them become increasingly strict.”