Tuesday 22 October 2019

William Hill profits down 15pc amid challenges on UK main street

Stock image: PA
Stock image: PA
Independent.ie Business Desk

William Hill's profits tumbled last year amid challenges to its betting shops on the UK main street.

Adjusted operating profit fell 15pc to £233.6m (€261m) for the 53 weeks to January 1 2019, in line with previous guidance from the board.

Revenue dipped 2pc to £1.6bn (€1.86bn).

Within retail, which accounts for 55pc of the group's turnover, revenue was down 2pc as a result of declining footfall on the high street.

The bookie is also remodelling its retail division to account for the new £2 stake limit on fixed odds betting terminals which comes into force in April this year.

However the company reported growth online and in the US.

The American market has been opened up to gambling firms after a court ruling in May 2018 gave states the right to legalise sports betting.

William Hill has since launched or expanded operations in New Jersey, West Virginia, Delaware, Mississippi, Rhode Island and Pennsylvania.

Net revenue was up 42pc, giving William Hill a 34pc market share in the seven regulated states.

Online net revenue was up 6pc. The recent acquisition of digital betting firm Mr Green is expected to boost online expansion.

Chief executive Philip Bowcock said: "2018 was a busy and decisive year for us. Key regulatory decisions in the UK and US gave us much needed clarity to set a new five-year strategy and a goal to double profits by 2023.

"We have three businesses at different stages, with online growing in the UK and diversifying internationally, retail being remodelled in response to the new £2 stake limit, and rapid expansion in the US sports betting market."

PA Media

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