Betfred loses £76.7m thanks to new taxes

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UK bookmakers Betfred swung to a net loss in its most recent fiscal year thanks to the double whammy of new taxes and lucky punters.

For the 52 weeks ending Sept. 27, 2015, the privately-held Betfred says it suffered an operating loss of £76.7m, a far cry from the £31.5m profit in the 78 weeks ending Sept. 28, 2014. Earnings were down nearly half to £56.5m over the same period but up 7.5% on a like-for-like basis.

As with other UK online and retail betting operators, Betfred’s bottom line was done in by the introduction of the online point of consumption tax and the hike in retail Machine Games Duty. Betfred said the combo had trimmed an additional £16.3m off its annual earnings.

All told, Betfred suffered £87.3m worth of exceptional items, including a one-off goodwill impairment from the December 2014 closure of Betfred’s Australian site, which failed to gain traction in the country’s “overpopulated” online betting market.

Despite the bottom line negatives, weekly turnover rose to £200.7m per week from £170m in its previous report. However, unfavorable sports and racing results took their toll on hold percentages, with Betfred.com and Totesport.com suffering “the most significant impact of these challenges.”

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