UPDATE 1-Ladbrokes says digital on track, Q3 profit flat

LONDON Thu Oct 18, 2012 2:30am EDT

LONDON Oct 18 (Reuters) - Bookmaker Ladbrokes reported flat Q3 operating profit after horse racing was hit by bad weather and the distraction of the Olympics reduced the amounts wagered in its British betting shops.

Operating profits in the three months to September were 49.2 million pounds ($79.5 million), barely changed from 49 million pounds a year earlier. Net revenue rose 3.9 percent.

Ladbrokes said its website development was on track and that the first versions of its new online sports betting website had been successfully released. It plans to migrate customers on to the platform by the end of Q1 2013.

"Though the economic outlook remains uncertain, we remain confident in our delivery and are in line with the Board's expectations for 2012," said Chief Executive Richard Glynn.

The company's first half performance was hit by problems in its digital business -- comprising online, tablet and mobile -- where profits halved, in contrast to rivals who have seen strong growth online.

It has been investing more than 50 million pounds on technology over the past two years and expects to start to see a payback from 2013.

Ladbrokes is Britain's second biggest bookmaker behind William Hill and has so far missed out on consolidation in the sector.

Takeover talks with online gaming company Sportingbet Plc foundered last year over regulatory concerns related to business in Turkey.

William Hill has joined forces with GVC for a 530 million pound takeover of Sportingbet which won provisional approval this week from the Sportingbet board.

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