UK changes help Ladbrokes' international drive

UK betting form Ladbrokes, already active in Asia with the tender for the sports lottery in Taiwan and bidding to run the Vietnamese sports lottery, is also looking at the China market. Britain's biggest bookie has more than 2,500 high street betting shops plus outlets at 47 football clubs and 11 horseracing tracks. It has close to two million customers in over 200 counties that bet with 18 currencies in 12 different languages. According to Chief Executive Christopher Bell, regulatory changes at home will help drive growth in the company's core business in 2008 and beyond. From 1 September all gambling operators in the UK will be required to meet the standards of the Gambling Commission. "Along with increased regulation will come opportunities which will include the all-year round evening opening of betting shops, £500 jackpot machines and the opportunity for broadcast advertising," Bell told Douglas Bence of City Wire. Ladbrokes' net revenue rose to £600.9 million in the six months to 30 June from £502.1 million although what it calls its gross win rose to £624 million from £523.1 million.