William Hill profit hit by regulatory cap and US expansion costs

UK bookmaker expects full-year adjusted operating profit to be in range of £50m to £70m

Adjusted operating profit fell 33 per cent to £76.2 million for the first six months

Adjusted operating profit fell 33 per cent to £76.2 million for the first six months

 

William Hill posted lower first-half profit on Friday, as a regulatory cap on fixed odds betting terminals, and more costs to expand in the United States took a toll on the gambling group.

The UK company, which plans to cut about a third of its betting shops and jobs in Britain, said adjusted operating profit fell 33 per cent to £76.2 million (€81.8 million) for the six months ended June 26th, as the government cut the maximum stake permitted on fixed-odds terminals, dubbed the “crack cocaine” of gambling by their critics.

William Hill, which is also exploring potential partnerships in the US, now expects adjusted operating profit for the year to be in the middle of a range of £50 million to £70 million.

Britain cut the maximum stake allowed to £2 in April after complaints that the machines, which had previously let gamblers bet up to £100 every 20 seconds, were highly addictive and allowed players to rack up big losses.

US expansion

British betting companies have been pushing into the US after the Supreme Court there overturned a federal ban on sports betting.

“We continue to expand rapidly in the US, both in Nevada and in the new states, with over $1 billion wagered with us in the first half. We are now live in eight states and will expand into at least two more states in the second half,” chief executive Philip Bowcock said.

The bookmaker said non-UK markets now contribute a third of online revenue, helped by the acquisition of Mr Green. It expects mid-single digit revenue growth in its online business.

- Reuters