Liverpool betting group Stanleybet returns to profit

Liverpool betting group Stanleybet returns to profit after seeing losses during the pandemic and sees the value of bets placed by punters across Europe soaring 45% to £779m. Tony McDonough reports

The Plaza
Entrance to The Plaza in St Paul’s Square where Stanleybet is headquartered. Picture by Tony McDonough


Betting firm Stanleybet has returned to profit for the first time since the pandemic and saw a 45% rise in bets placed by punters to £779m.

Based in Liverpool city centre, Stanleybet has 2,000 betting shops across the UK, Belgium, Cyprus, Italy and Malta. It is a major player in the heavily regulated European betting market and employs around 3,000 people.

The firm employs 100 people in its head office which is based in the Plaza in St Paul’s Square in Liverpool city centre. It relocated its headquarters from Exchange Station in Tithebarn Street earlier this year.

Its financial results for the year to December 31, 2022, have been posted on Companies House in the last few days. They show a 34% increase in turnover to £74m. Pre-tax profit was £1.95m, an improvement on the £1.88m loss reported in the previous year.

Stanleybet saw a big increase in the value of bets placed, rising to £779m from £536m a year earlier.

In the annual report the company said the significant improvement in revenues, margin and bets reflected “a year of uninterrupted trade” following the COVID pandemic.

It added: “Prior year results were impacted by the Government-enforced closure of the intermediary retail network as a response to the spread of the COVID pandemic… the business mix between retail and online returned to historical norms.”

Originally started in Ireland in 1958, the company moved to the UK in 1979. It grew its business opening casinos and high street bookmakers. It floated on the stock exchange in 1986 and became Stanley Leisure.

Its betting shops were a familiar sight on the UK’s high streets. Its portfolio swelled to 700 outlets before they were sold to rival William Hill in May 2005. Following this deal the business shifted its focus to more tightly regulated betting markets overseas such as Italy.

In 2014, after a non-competition agreement with William Hill expired, Stanleybet returned to the UK high street, albeit with a smaller presence. 


One of Stanleybet’s virual gaming platforms


The firm also develops original gaming software for a range of commercial customers through its Magellan Robotech subsidiary.

The biggest ongoing risk to its business is shifting regulations covering gaming activities across the multiple jurisdictions under which it operates. The UK has relatively liberalised gaming laws compared to countries in mainland Europe.

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Over the past few years Stanleybet has been involved in a long-running legal dispute with Italian authorities which have sought significant tax revenues from the business, which the company believes to be unfair.

This has forced Stanleybet to run its Italian betting operations out of Malta using a cross-border licensing model.

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