* Launch of the New Football Pools successful
* Says 2009 trading started well
LONDON, March 24 (Reuters) - British football-pools operator Sportech (ROD.L) reported a 39 percent increase in full-year profit and said 2009 trading had started well despite the economic downturn.
The Liverpool-based firm on Tuesday posted an underlying pretax profit of 16.8 million pounds on revenue 20 percent higher at 71.8 million pounds for 2008.
Sportech, which did not propose a final dividend, said the rebranding and relaunch of the New Football Pools, formerly the Littlewoods and Vernons Football Pools businesses, in August had driven increased resilience in customer numbers.
"Sportech, as a high-volume, small-value-ticket gaming business, enters 2009 in a significantly stronger position (than 2008) to withstand the economic downturn," chief executive Ian Penrose said in a statement.
(Reporting by Rhys Jones; Editing by James Davey)