adbrokes recently launched its first multichannel HTML5 front-end solution with Playtech. What are its main features? Tell us about what this new experience offers.
The unveiling of our single digital platform seeks to position Ladbrokes as the industry leader by providing the quickest and easiest customer experience across all digital platforms. The platform significantly improves speed and efficiency of product delivery, fulfilling our ambition to consistently tailor improvements to our customers. It has an adaptive approach that provides more control over layouts and faster load times than other designs. In short, there are no compromises for any digital channel: however and wherever Ladbrokes customers want to bet, they will enjoy the same high-quality experience.
What role does mobile play in the multichannel experience?
Mobile has been at the heart of our digital transformation recently. Its growth rate in our industry has been the dominant theme in digital betting and gaming. The integration of mobile into the multi-channel experience is now critical. One of the key focuses here is growing our recreational customer base by attracting and retaining football punters. Our suite of mobile-led football initiatives, including 'My Acca', '5+ Acca Money Back' and 'Cash Out', are now complemented by the recently unveiled feature which allows bets placed in one of our 2000+ shops to be tracked in real time on mobile. It's the seamless "One Ladbrokes" experience that we're looking to capture.
How do you see the sports betting sector evolving in the next years? Where is the industry headed?
The need to develop agile methodology is going to be key. Any operator who moves first has little more than 3 months to make the most of that status before digital operators catch up and replicate, so the need to move swiftly is important. The sports betting sector hasn't always had innovation as its strongest suit but we know that innovative ideas that are clearly tailored to a customer need will help differentiate brands. There's little point in developing fancy, new-fangled concepts that serve no purpose and gather dust in a museum of intriguing but worthless ideas. The operators who put the customer experience first in their developments will flourish.
The merger with Coral will create Britain's biggest bookmaker. How are you positioned today? Are you planning to expand into new verticals? What are your business plans for the future? Are you looking to widen business boundaries?
Our strategy is clear. We've identified four key pillars for growth which focus on improving our retail performance, growing our UK recreational customer base with a super-charged marketing program, cracking the multichannel nut with accelerated online marketing and a 'One Ladbrokes' culture, and growing our market share in Australia which has been a jewel in our crown recently. If we focus relentlessly on those four pillars, we are confident that we will see positive results.
Can you give us an update on the current state of Ladbrokes' Irish operations?
We are pleased that Ladbrokes Ireland has emerged from the recent period of Examinership. Earlier this year we put together a bid that we believed provides the best long-term outcome for Ladbrokes Ireland, its employees and trade partners. We are moving towards a position that now allows us to compete effectively, and we are committed to building a sustainable and competitive business based in Ireland, run from Ireland, investing in Ireland and supporting the Irish economy.