CHIEF executive Bob Wiper of Stanley Leisure will be hoping to come up trumps after his group paid a total of £44.3m to buy regional casino group Tower Casino.

The deal will add five more provincial sites to the Liverpool bookie's growing casino operation, which now boasts 40 outlets.

Profits at Stanley's regional casinos have surged in the past year after the introduction of new games and longer opening hours.

Figures out yesterday showed the growth helped push group pre-tax profits up by 43 per cent to £35.8m in the 12 months to April 28. Profits before interest and tax across Stanley's gaming division rose by 27 per cent to £33.8m in the recent financial year.

The new betting laws, allowing bookies to pay tax from their own turnover, helped profits in the group's betting arm rise 21 per cent to £21.4m.

The average stake per slip across Stanley's 638 betting shops improved by nine per cent to £6.16.

Group turnover rose 21 per cent in the year to £743m with a 23 per cent jump registered in the betting arm following the change in betting tax.

Vinay Bedi, of Wise Speke stockbroking and financial services, said: "This an excellent set of results from the Stanley Leisure group, with significant growth in both the gaming and betting divisions."