A BOOKMAKING firm which only launched last year is already expecting to see a £3m turnover this year – and has unveiled plans to open around 10 more shops.
Platinum Leisure (North East), which trades as Just A Bet, was formed in September last year after two private investors decided to enter the gambling market with the opening of their first site in Seaham.
The business has quickly grown and now runs five sites after the pair acquired three shops from Pagebet, which was the North East’s biggest independent chain of bookies until it collapsed in May with the loss of 125 staff.
It bought Pagebet shops in Crook, County Durham, Shiney Row in Houghton-le-Spring, Tyne and Wear, and Tanfield Lea in Stanley, County Durham, from the Durham firm’s administrators PricewaterhouseCoopers.
It is currently putting the finishing touches to its fifth shop in Chopwell, Gateshead, which will employ around three people and opens in three weeks time.
The company, which now has 20 staff, is looking to build up a 15-strong chain over the next three years and create 50 jobs as it does so.
The team behind the venture said they have tried to give the shops a luxury feel, and spent £100,000 fitting out the Seaham site.
The firm is already in advanced talks over two more sites – in Newcastle and Sunderland – which it is aiming to become operational by the end of the year.
It expects to hit a turnover of £3m in September once the new store opens and aims to more than double that by next year as it rolls out the chain across the North East.
Richard Duffy, area manager for the company, said: “If you go into any betting shop and then visit our shop you will immediately be able to tell the difference.
“We have made the betting shop a more welcoming place to visit, which has seen us attract more female customers than the average shop.
“We are now looking to open further sites over the coming years as the idea catches on.”