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William Hill forecasts £100m profit reduction after government review

By BFN News | 08:02 AM | Thursday 17 May, 2018

Annualised adjusted operating profit in William Hill's retail division could be reduced by £70m to £100m as a result of a decision by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to reduce the maximum stake on B2 games from £100 to £2. In the first four months of the current financial year, around 70% of William Hill's total gaming machine net revenue was generated by stakes in excess of the proposed £2 threshold. The annualised impact of a £2 staking limit could be a reduction in total gaming net revenue of 35% to 45%. The stake limit could result in around 900 William Hill shops (38% of its existing Retail estate) becoming loss-making. A proportion of these would be at risk of being closed within a relatively short time of the proposed staking change being implemented. The board's current intention is to retain the existing dividend policy to pay out approximately 50% of underlying earnings. Philip Bowcock, chief executive officer, said: "William Hill has a long and proud heritage as part of the UK high street and we know how important betting shops are to our customers and their local economies. The government has handed us a tough challenge today and it will take some time for the full impact to be understood, for our business, the wider high street and key partners like horseracing. We will continue to evolve our Retail business in order to adapt to this change and we will support our colleagues as best we can. Despite the challenges presented by this decision, our teams will compete hard and offer great service to William Hill customers." At 8:02am: (LON:WMH) William Hill PLC share price was -4.7p at 312.8p Story provided by

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