UK markets close in 7 hours 7 minutes

Gambling firm 888 warns of profit hit from virus-related sports disruptions

(Reuters) - Online gambling firm 888 Holdings said on Tuesday its 2020 core profit could be hit in the high single-digit millions of dollars if global sporting events remain disrupted until September because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The company joined the ranks of peers Paddy Power and Betfair-owner Flutter Entertainment, Ladbrokes-owner GVC and William Hill, all of which last week warned of a big hit to earnings because of sports events being stopped.

However, 888 has a smaller exposure to sports as compared with its peers, with the business accounting for only 16% of its revenue in 2019.

The company also said more people were playing casino and poker, with its customer facing business recording a 20% jump in customer acquisition year to date, as they remained holed up in their homes because of the fast-spreading virus.

"However, in the event of a prolonged period of global macro-economic uncertainty, it is possible that consumer spending across the group's online gaming product verticals may also become impacted," the company said in a statement.

(Reporting by Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni)