On August 7th, 2008, England's biggest bookmaker, Ladbrokes, is considered accepting poker wagers from the U.S. in a decision that is sure to have a great impact on the industry. The managing director of Ladbrokes, John O'Reilly made the suggestion while commenting on Ladbroke's results for the first part of the year. Ladbrokes reported an 18pc in first half profits after a dismal Royal Ascot and Euro 2008 and fewer wagers by high rollers. Pre-tax profits slide down from 154.4 million pounds to 126.7 million pounds on net revenue up 5pc to 614,8 million pounds.
Operating profits coming from VIP's slide down by 33 pc to 40 million pounds while operating profit not considering high stakes players drop by 2pc to 130 million pounds. The chief executive of Ladbrokes, Christopher Bell commented that the company had shown perseverance amidst the sluggish economy. Ladbrokes had made the decision to expand their presence on the U.S. gaming market before the approval of the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act or UIGEA.
This makes playing on an Internet poker room illegal in the U.S. Ladbrokes had not officially announced their plans but was forced to retreat. Almost all publicly traded online poker companies leave the U.S. market because of the UIGEA. It was approved on October 13th, 2006. Ladbrokes is a member of the FTSE 250 Index and was once a part of the Hilton Organization, owning the hotel brand outside of the U.S.
Ladbrokes owns more than 2,200 retail wagering shops in Britain, Ireland and Belgium. The company also operates several Internet gambling site featuring sportsbook, poker, casino, games, bingo and backgammon. Ladbrokes utilizes the OpenBet system from Orbis Technology.