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William Hill cuts cash burn as punters discover delights of table tennis

15th May, 06:57

Each month that its betting shops are closed is now expected to lose the business £12-15mln, compared to the £25-30mln hit initially expected

William Hill PLC (LON:WMH) said betting revenue has more than halved since the widespread shutdown of sports due to coronavirus, though online sports betting declined less than expected as customers found alternative sports to bet on such as table tennis.

The bookmaker said its cash burn has been reduced to roughly £15mln per month currently and it has liquidity of at least £700mln, with its banks having waived their covenant restrictions for this year.

Some optimism has been gained from the recent restarting of horse racing in France and in the UK next month and with professional football, which accounts for roughly half of online UK sportsbook, in Germany this weekend behind closed doors.

For the 10 weeks to 10 March, before the sports shutdown, total net revenue was down 5%, with online down 6%, bookmakers shops up 17% and the contribution from the US business up 26%.

From 11 March to 28 April, total net revenue fell 57%, with online down 21%, retail down 85% and the US down 90%.

Sports wagers were down 70% and gaming revenue was down 33%

The FTSE 250-listed group said its actions to mitigate the effects of coronavirus on the business means it is performing ahead of the initial scenario of £100-110mln underlying losses, which included most sports remaining cancelled until the autumn.

Having warned that each month of closures for its shops would result in a £25-30mln profit hit, Hills said this is now nearer £12-15mln thanks to government support for furloughed workers.