LONDON Aug 2 Britain's second-biggest bookmaker
Ladbrokes said on Thursday it would focus on its ailing
digital business in the second half after profit from that
division fell in the first six months of the year.
Overall group operating profit rose 11 percent to 106.9
million pounds ($166.6 million) in the first half, the bookmaker
Growth in its British high street business and an improved
performance in European Retail and Telephone businesses helped
to offset a decline in digital - a growth area for many rivals.
The company had already warned in June that profits from its
digital division would fall more than expected in the first half
due to a delay in technology upgrades and a poor sportsbook
margin. On Monday, it announced that Richard Ames, responsible
for trading and IT, was stepping down.
Ames, who has been placed on gardening leave, would get a
compensation payment of 506,585 pounds when he leaves the
company, Ladbrokes said on Thursday.
The company announced a series of management changes on
Thursday to support its digital drive. As part of these,
director of IT Mark Grimes would join the Executive Committee.
Ladbrokes, which pulled out of talks to buy online gambling
businesses 888 Holdings Plc and Sportingbet Plc
last year, had said it would invest 50 million pounds over two
years to improve the performance of its internet business, which
has lagged that of market leader William Hill Plc.
William Hill, on the other hand, said last week that revenue
at its online operation rose 30 percent.
(Reporting by Keith Wier; Editing by Paul Sandle,