Ladbrokes owner shares fall even as online offsets UK hit

Ladbrokes owner GVC Holdings eked out 3% growth in overall revenue in the second quarter, online growth offsetting the collapse in UK high street revenue that drove rival William Hill to announce mass closures earlier this month.

Ladbrokes owner shares fall even as online offsets UK hit

Ladbrokes owner GVC Holdings eked out 3% growth in overall revenue in the second quarter, online growth offsetting the collapse in UK high street revenue that drove rival William Hill to announce mass closures earlier this month.

GVC, which in March warned legislation ordering a cut in the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals could lead to up to 1,000 shop closures, reported an almost 40% fall in like-for-like revenue from its machines. But it also said a 19% overall fall in like-for-like retail revenue was better than it had feared, with some punters turning to its sports betting terminals instead.

Overall gaming revenue for the company, which owns brands including Bwin, Coral, Crystalbet, and Eurobet, rose 3% in the second quarter to the end of June, driven by continuing strong —16% — growth of online betting.

William Hill said at the start of July that it plans to cut about a third of its betting shops and jobs in Britain after the UK government slashed the maximum stake permitted on fixed-odds terminals, dubbed the “crack cocaine” of gambling by their critics.

Like other betting majors, GVC has also been leaning increasingly towards a rapidly growing US market, which has exploded ever since regulations around sports betting were loosened.

GVC, which offers sports betting, casino, poker, and bingo and has licences in more than 20 countries, said it expects Roar Digital, its US joint venture with MGM Resorts, to be up and running online ahead of the start of NFL season in September. Its shares fell 1.5% to brings its losses to 43% in the past year and valuing the bookie at almost £3.5bn (€3.9bn).

William Hill shares fell 1% in the latest session and have also dropped by around 43% in the year. It is now valued at almost £1.43bn (€1.6bn).

It said this month it plans to cut about a third of its betting shops and jobs in the UK after the British government slashed the maximum stake permitted on fixed-odds terminals, dubbed the “crack cocaine” of gambling by their critics.

Britain cut the maximum stake allowed to £2 in April after complaints that the machines, which had previously let gamblers bet up to £100 every 20 seconds, were highly addictive and allowed players to rack up big losses.

It said the closures, which would put about 4,500 of its 12,500 British jobs at risk, were likely to begin before the end of the year.

Paddy Power competes head-on with GVC and William Hill in Britain.

The shares of its corporate owner, Flutter fell 1.5% in the latest session. Flutter shares have now fallen 15% in the last year to value the Irish bookie at €6bn.

Reuters and Irish Examiner

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