Football and racing upsets hit William Hill's bottomline

The bookies aren't always right...

Football and racing upsets hit William Hill's bottomline

Andrew Matthews PA Archive / PA Images

William Hill has warned this morning that a sting of unexpected football and race results hurt its takings over the Christmas period.

Its full-year operating profit for 2016 was £260m (€300m), that's at the bottom end of its forecast range of £260-280m.

However, the UK chain adds that underlying trends in the sector remain strong.

Philip Bowcock, William Hill's interim CEO, commented: "Importantly, the improvements we saw in wagering in Online and Australia in the second half have continued in recent weeks. However, all four divisions saw customer-friendly results at the back end of the year, which translated into profits being £20m below our prior expectations.

"With key underlying trends continuing to be positive, the recent run of sporting results have not changed our confidence in a better performance in 2017."

In August of last year the company rejected a takeover bid from Rank Group and 888 Holdings who offered £3.6bn to buy the company.

Later in 2016 it was reported to be in talks with Canada's PokerStars who were interested in a £5bn merger, which would have created one of the world's largest online gambling groups. That deal is believed to have fallen through.

The company was forced to issue a profit warning in March of last year after results went against the firm at the Cheltenham Festival

William Hill's final 2016 results will be announced on Friday, 24 February 2017.