Ladbrokes has reported an increase in digital profits following significant investment in its online platform. 

In its interim financial results for the half year to 30 June, the betting company reported a 6.5 percent increase in profits for its digital operation from £29.1 million in 2010 to £31 million this year.

Ladbrokes’ overall operating profit for the period had fallen 16.8 percent, however, from £112.5 million last year to £93.6 million in 2011.

Richard Glynn, Ladbrokes chief executive, said: “In the face of challenging economic conditions it is pleasing to see good levels of underlying growth in both the UK retail and digital businesses.

“We have taken significant steps to becoming more competitive online. Our new contract with Microgaming offers us more flexibility to work with other suppliers, thereby improving content, whilst continued enhancements to our website make it more functional, easier to use and engaging for customers.”

Ladbrokes has invested in its e-commerce platform by improving its search function to reduce the time it takes customers to find the bet they want, and enabling them to place bets directly from ranked search results. This is part of the company’s plans to refresh its Sportsbook [sports betting functionality] ahead of a full re-launch in early 2012.

The company said that its renegotiated contract with software development company Microgaming, which the company announced in June, for the provision of casino and games software for its website, also offers opportunities for growth due to better terms and increased flexibility of content.

Due to the new contract terms, Ladbrokes is able to sign up other software providers to provide a wider range of products.

Meanwhile, Ladbrokes said that mobile continued to be a priority, after seeing the proportion of digital customers transacting through a mobile device more than double from seven percent in 2010 to 18 percent this year. It aims to double its revenue from mobile, which was £6.8 million in the first half of the year, in 2011.

“In the period, we have delivered a Grand National app, extended our Sportsbook app to Android smartphones as well as being the first to offer live streaming of horseracing through a partnership with Racing UK.

“Further initiatives in H2 will include an extension of horseracing streaming to cover 100 percnet of UK races and a new strategic partnership with O2,” the company said.

In terms of its trading platform, Ladbrokes said that it had invested in its algorithmic and trading teams and built a number of proprietary tools to increase the level of automation in trading, which has helped to increase efficiency.

“We are on track to enhance our capabilities in business intelligence and customer relationship management (BI and CRM), which is critical to identifying, retaining and growing the lifetime value of customers.

“We have aggregated customer data from numerous sources across the business and are well progressed in the selection process for a partner with whom we will move forward from Q4 of this year,” the company said.