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UK's William Hill warns of profit hit on local lockdowns as revenue slips

·1-min read

(Reuters) - British bookmaker William Hill Plc warned on Wednesday that further local lockdowns triggered by a fast-spreading new coronavirus wave would hit core earnings, as it posted lower third-quarter revenue.

The company, which is set to be acquired by U.S. casino operator Caesars Entertainment, estimated that shutting 100 shops for four weeks due to further local lockdowns would reduce core earnings by around 2 million pounds ($2.60 million).

The betting firm said that around 10% of its betting shops are located in regions where the local COVID-19 alert level is classified as "very high" according to the government. The government has introduced fresh curbs including shutting some public places early.

While net revenue was down 9% for 13 weeks ended Sept. 29, the drop was lower than the 32% fall it posted for the first-half, with growth in the United States cushioning the decline.

Gambling firms, including rivals GVC and 888 Holdings, have been targeting overseas markets, especially the U.S., to offset a hit from tighter regulations in Britain.

William Hill highlighted good performance in its international online business, which was partially offset by unfavourable sports results, and signalled a return in footfall towards pre-COVID-19 levels in its betting shops.

Caesars is set to buy the company in a 2.9 billion pound deal to expand in the fast-growing U.S. sports-betting market and intends to sell its non-U.S. operations, including more than 1,400 UK betting shops.

($1 = 0.7701 pounds)

(Reporting by Tanishaa Nadkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)