March 1, 2019 / 8:33 AM / 4 months ago

William Hill 2019 outlook in line as U.S. expansion ramps up

FILE PHOTO: A branded sign is displayed outside a William Hill betting shop in London, Britain July 25, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall/File Photo

(Reuters) - British bookmaker William Hill Plc said on Friday that 2019 results would be in line with market expectations while reporting a slight dip in full-year adjusted operating profit, as it booked more costs to expand in the U.S.

British betting companies have been pushing into the United States market because of tighter regulations at home and after the U.S. Supreme Court decided to overturn a federal ban on sports betting.

William Hill has put money into a digital launch in New Jersey and has started operations or expanded in six states, and the investments resulted in a net adjusted operating loss of 33.2 million pounds in 2018.

The company also closed a “significant” number of customer accounts after it stepped up its due diligence checks and faced higher costs from a remote gaming duty that applies to gaming over the internet and telephone.

Adjusted operating profit fell to 233.6 million pounds ($309.52 million) for the 53 weeks ended Jan. 1 from 273.8 million pounds reported for the 52 weeks ended Dec. 26, 2017.

On a statutory basis, the company posted a loss before tax of 721.9 million pounds, compared with a profit of 146.5 million pounds, last year.

The loss included a 882.2 million pound non-cash write-down of its retail business after the UK government’s decision to cut stakes on gambling machines to 2 pounds.

Revenue rose 2 percent to 1.62 billion pounds.

Reporting by Tanishaa Nadkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr

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