Wednesday 13 January 2021 8:10 am

Covid drives £30m loss at William Hill betting shops

William Hill suffered a £30m loss in its retail business in 2020, with all 1,414 of its shops affected by coronavirus restrictions.

When open and trading without restrictions the retail side of the betting business traded well, and at the end of the third quarter it was on course to break even for the year. 

However coronavirus restrictions implemented in Q4, including a national lockdown, led the business to lose £30m. 

Total group revenue for the year decreased 16 per cent to £1,324m. Online revenue in the UK grew 5 per cent in 2020, with online gaming net revenue growing 20 per cent in that quarter alone. 

In the US full year net revenue grew by nearly a third (32 per cent), driven by strong online growth. William Hill US went live in five new states and launched mobile in five states, leading to 121 per cent net revenue growth in the fourth quarter. 

In November it was agreed Caesars Group would acquire William Hill for a cash price of 272p per share.

William Hill CEO Ulrik Bengtsson said: “The offer received for the group recognises the substantial progress we have made as well as the opportunities and challenges ahead of us.

“I remain immensely proud of the William Hill team which has been relentless in its focus on delivering a great product and service to our customers, with player safety at its heart.”

The group’s 2020 final results will be announced on 24 February.