Jack Grealish's goal for Aston Villa against Brighton cost bookies £1.5million as Newcastle claimed Championship title

Jack Grealish. Picture by PA
Jack Grealish. Picture by PA

Gambling giant Ladbrokes Coral has revealed it took a £1.5million hit as Newcastle United sealed the Championship title in the last minute of the 2016/17 season.

Jack Grealish's 89th-minute equaliser for Aston Villa against Brighton & Hove Albion FC in May knocked the Seagulls out of the top spot and caused a large number of league winner accumulators came good as Newcastle took the title instead.

Newcastle were early favourites to win the 2016/17 Championship but fell behind Brighton as the season progressed.

However, Ladbrokes said Floyd Mayweather's victory over Conor McGregor saved the group from a "bloody nose" as the boxing veteran secured his 50th undefeated fight.

The group said the bout generated a "huge amount of interest", with Mayweather coming out of retirement to take on Irish ultimate fighting champion McGregor in his boxing debut.

Mayweather's win in Las Vegas at the weekend gave a boost to Ladbrokes Coral at the beginning of its second half, but it said the start of the football season will be the "crucial sporting action" for the next six months.

The group, formed from the £2.3 billion merger of Ladbrokes and Coral last November, posted a 7% rise in proforma earnings to £158.3 million for the six months to the end of June.

But UK retail net revenues were 6% behind a year earlier, with over-the-counter sales in its betting shops dropping 11% and like-for-like stakes 7% lower.

It said horse racing had proved "very much the bookies' friend" so far this year, thanks to results going the way of bookmakers at Cheltenham and Ascot.