Feb 26, 2020

William Hill narrows losses after cutting shop estate

William Hill, the UK bookmaker, almost wiped out its losses from last year after shrinking its shop estate following the implementation of punitive regulations on betting machines in the UK. The FTSE 250 gambling company reported on Wednesday that losses before tax had improved from £722m to £37.6m in the year to December 2019 after it closed 713 shops followingthe cut in the maximum stake permitted on fixed odds betting terminals - a highly addictive type of slot machine - in April. Betting companies with high exposure to the UK have had to take on a string of regulatory measures in the past year as the UK gambling authority has increased its efforts to tackle addiction. William Hill said it had made a "Decisive response" to the stake cut and there were no plans to close more high street shops. Revenues across its retail estate were down 13 per cent on a like-for-like basis, which it said was better than expected. Paul Leyland, an analyst at Regulus Partners, warned that despite its expansion overseas, William Hill still had around 70 per cent exposure to the UK "Which faces a potentially bruising review of its gambling regulations".

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