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William Hill takes huge financial hit after FOBT law changes

FOBT changes in UK hit WIlliam Hill hard

One of Britain’s top wagering companies William Hill incurred £819.6 million in losses before tax in the last six month to June 26, a heavy decline from its £93.6 million profit made last year.

The company is blaming the loss on the UK’s government plans to slash the maximum stakes on fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) from the current £100 to £2.

William Hill, a member of the Financial Times-Stock Exchange 250, reported exceptional charges of £916 million, which includes an £883 million hit related to the decision on FOBTs.

The company makes a substantial portion of its revenue from the FOBTs, which are considered to be one of the biggest problems by anti-gambling campaigners.

The shares of the UK gambling firm tumbled 7 per cent when the news broke last Friday.

With the lifting of the ban on sports betting in the US by the Supreme Court, the company also outlined the progress it has made in penetrating into the US gambling market.

The company revealed that it has reached deals with some casinos in the country including 11 in Mississippi and one in West Virginia to run a sportsbook. It also started taking sports bets in Mississippi this month.

On addictive gambling, the company stated it would adopt a new approach to reduce the harm.

The Chief Executive of William Hill Philip Bowcock speaking on the topic said it was critical the company stayed in-front of the curve in problem gambling.

“Fundamental to delivering over the long term will be our sustainability strategy, which marks a significant cultural change for the company,” he said.

“Gambling-related harm is a serious issue and it is important that we face up to this challenge.

“We have set ourselves the ambition that nobody is harmed by gambling and set out a detailed programme of actions as we start out on this journey.”

FOBTs also known as gambling’s crack cocaine, has been mostly criticised as being addictive and causes gamblers to lose huge sums of money within a short period.

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