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William Hill profits hit

by LLB Editor
9th Aug 19 9:31 am

Gambling giant William Hill today said that operating profits, adjusted for costs of the closure of 700 shops as a result of the stake cut, fell 33 per cent in the six months to the end of June to £76.2m. Total revenues for the period rose just one per cent to £811m, just behind consensus estimates.

”investors appear prepared to take the long-term view on bookmaker William Hill after first half profit was hit by a crackdown on fixed odds betting terminals and investment in the US.

“While America has often been a graveyard of UK corporate ambitions, think Tesco’s failed Fresh & Easy venture, the UK gambling sector is seen as being well placed to take advantage of the opening up of sports betting across the pond, even if it has made a slowish start.

“The industry arguably had its fingers burned before with online betting in the States but there are hopes for a more successful outcome this time.

“William Hill’s joint venture with US-based Eldorado effectively provides it with a licence to operate and the latter’s merger with Caesars Entertainment could have a major benefit to William Hill as the scale of the enlarged business would be material, with 60 casinos across 16 states.

“William Hill is entitled to operate mobile sports in states where Eldorado obtains a licence, as well as to exclusively operate sports books in the acquired casinos.

“While the US is all about expansion, the UK is likely to continue to be a story of retrenchment as the company shutters a large number of its high street premises.”

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