William Hill warns of lower annual profits, shares fall

William Hill warns of lower annual profits, shares fall

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William Hill shares fell on Monday morning after the betting firm said annual profits are likely to be lower than last year.

The group has blamed tighter laws on customer due diligence online and a fall in high street sales.

William Hill chief executive, Philip Bowcock, said:

“2018 was a pivotal year for both William Hill and the wider industry. We now have greater clarity around the key challenges and opportunities for our business.

“In 2019 we will remodel our retail offer while building a digitally-led international business, underpinned by a sustainable approach as part of our nobody harmed ambition.”

Russ Mould, who is the investment director at AJ Bell, said: “Sympathy is likely to be thin on the ground but the latest update from William Hill shows it is not easy being a bookmaker in the UK. Confirmation that profit fell in 2018 should not be a major shock give the regulatory challenges faced by the company, perhaps most notably with the cut in maximum stakes on fixed odds betting terminals.”

“This will necessitate a big restructuring of the company’s high street business in 2019. Key to its hopes of returning to a sustainable growth path are its efforts to expand in the US, where the rules are generally being loosened, rather than tightened as they are in the UK. It is no surprise to see investment being poured into this expansion,” he added.

Shares in William Hill (LON: WMH) are trading -3.09% at 170,20 (1329GMT).