Last year wasn’t the greatest year on record for UK bookmakers, but given the circumstances, things could have been a whole lot worse.

According to a recent report on CalvinAyre.com, the UK’s big three bookmakers (Ladbrokes, Paddy Power, and William Hill) are weathering a storm of new taxes and market tribulations pretty well.

All three companies have something to crow about, despite the onset of the UK’s new point-of-consumption  (POTC) and a fair amount of chaos in foreign markets.

Ladbrokes, for example, posted an absolutely spectacular 110% increase in their overall mobile stake. This, combined with a 62% leap in active players, helped offset foreign market instability in places like Spain.

Over at William Hill, earnings were down a bit over this time last year, but revenue was actually higher. Given the impact of the POCT, this actually qualifies as good news.

Even better, much of that earnings hit can be attributed to one-time accounting events that temporarily drug down the bigger picture.

One potential Achilles Heel for William Hill is its increasing reliance on foreign markets, especially Italy and Spain. Though these two markets are fraught with potential liabilities, William Hill does have a solid footing in the always solid Australian market.

The brightest star in the UK bookmaker galaxy, in the last year anyways, was Paddy Power.

Ireland’s largest independent bookmaker has really mastered its online presence, which now amounts to as much as 77% of its operating profit.

Like its competition, Paddy Power faces some potential rough going on foreign fronts, especially in the tumultuous Italian market. At the same time, Paddy Power has a very strong Australian presence that can help even things out.

All told, the big three UK bookmakers are transitioning quite nicely away from their retail roots, while staying ahead of foreign follies and domestic taxes.


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