Mar 1, 2019

William Hill posts £722m loss after betting terminals rule change

British bookmaker William Hill is pinning its hopes on expansion in the US and online after it reported a loss of more than £700m for 2018 following the UK government's move to cut the maximum stake on gambling machines. The FTSE 250 company, which described 2018 as a "Pivotal" year, on Friday said revenues edged up 2 per cent year on year to £1.62bn. But a previously announced £883m non-cash impairment - relating to a forthcoming cut in the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals from £100 to £2 - resulted in a statutory pre-tax loss of £722m, down from a profit of £146m in 2017. William Hill has warned it will have to close up to 900 shops during the next two years as a result of the change. As well as expanding online, the company is aiming to offset the impact of regulatory changes in the UK by moving into the US. Of all the UK bookmakers, William Hill has pushed most into the US following the legalisation of sports betting at a federal level in May last year. Philip Bowcock, William Hill's chief executive, said the company had put in "An awful lot of work" to mitigate the effects of the betting terminals stake cut and "Stay ahead of the pack".

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