William Hill boosted by Mayweather v McGregor bout amid prospect of "daunting" regulatory hurdles

 
Oliver Gill
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Floyd Mayweather Jr. v Conor McGregor
US bets leapt by a third in the last quarter, William Hill said (Source: Getty)

Floyd Mayweather's high-profile boxing bout with Conor McGregor, billed as the richest fight in history, helped boost the finances of William Hill, it said today.

The bookie is on track to meet expectations in 2017, with quarterly net retail revenue up three per cent. Online sales rose six per cent, with the amount wagered on the internet up 13 per cent.

In the US, bets placed jumped by 33 per cent while net revenue was 28 per cent higher.

William Hill boss Philip Bowcock was particularly pleased with the online returns - "in spite of the absence of a major football tournament".

The chief executive also highlighted progress with the firm's cost-cutting exercise, which he said was on track to deliver £40m of annualised savings.

"US revenues got a big lift from Mayweather-McGregor bout," said ETX Capital senior market analyst Neil Wilson.

"Meanwhile UK retail revenues rebounded in the June to October quarter as revenues from fixed odds betting terminals continue to rise."

Read more: William Hill is expected to be on target with its latest set of results

Regulatory hurdles

But according to Hargreaves Lansdown equity analyst George Salmon, the firm faces "several daunting regulatory fences ahead".

He added: "The most pressing challenge for the group is the much-anticipated clampdown on fixed-odds betting terminals in the UK. The government consultation is still ongoing, but it’s as much of a sure thing as anything in gambling that the new limit on stakes will be well below the current £100 cap.

Slashing the maximum to just £2 is still among the favourites, and with machines responsible for millions in revenues each year, this would seriously impact the group’s bottom line.

Shares rose 0.25 per cent in morning trading.

Read more: The CEO of Johnston Press has left the William Hill board

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