William Hill profits slump on UK govt betting cap, US expansion
Gambling firm William Hill said first-half adjusted operating profits slumped by a third as the UK government's regulatory cap on fixed odds betting terminals and US expansion costs hit home.
The company on Friday said adjusted operating profit fell 33% to £76.2m, adding that it now expected the full year figure to be £50m - £70m.
William Hill said it would book an exceptional charge and adjustments of £114.3m, including £97.1m to cover the cost of closing shops and sacking staff as a result of the government cap, leading to a statutory loss before tax of £63.5m.
The company in July said it planned to close 700 betting shops, or a third of its branches, putting 4,500 jobs at risk after the government cut the maximum stake on fixed odds terminals to £2 from £100.
Critics said punters could lose vast amounts of money in a short space of time, seeing the machines, which offered simulated versions of blackjack, poker and roulette, as the crack cocaine of gambling.