William Hill continues transitional period as H1 losses total £63m

William Hill has continued to feel the fallout from the FOBT maximum stake reduction, with its financial performance again feeling the effects.

After suffering a £721m setback earlier in the year, total group net revenue for H1 grew  one per cent to $811.7m, impacted by the £2 stake limit on gaming machines in betting shops.

Furthermore, the group also revealed exceptional charge and adjustments of £114.3m, including £97.1m relating to mitigation measures following the £2 stake change, leading to a statutory loss before tax of £63.5m.

Philip Bowcock, CEO of William Hill, stated: “In retail we took the tough decision to announce a consultation process over the proposed closure of around 700 shops to protect the long-term future of the business following the introduction of the £2 stake limit.”

International online revenue saw incline however, boosted by the firm’s Mr Green acquisition earlier in the year: “Online International revenues have grown strongly, up 66 per cent, with the acquisition of Mr Green.”

We are becoming more diversified with non-UK markets now contributing a third of online’s revenues, up from just 24 per cent last year. In the UK, performance has improved through the half, up seven per cent in Q2, as we manage the tax and regulatory impacts,” commented Bowcock.

International expansion was also a key theme of the bookmakers H1 update, with the firm stressing that increased investment across the US is central to its period of transition.
After hitting the $bn wagered mark during the period, William Hill is to soon add two more states to its US footprint, spreading its presence across ten jurisdictions.

Adjusted operating profit for the period decrease 33 per cent to £76.2m (2018: £113.6m), with a major contributing factor being an increase in start-up costs associated with US manoeuvres

Philip Bowcock, CEO of William Hill, concluded: “We are making good progress against the five-year strategy we outlined last year, delivering strong revenue growth in the US and other international markets and positioning William Hill well for future growth.

“We continue to expand rapidly in the US, both in Nevada and in the new states, with over $1bn wagered with us in the first half. We are now live in eight states and will expand into at least two more states in H2.”

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