William Hill pushed into loss by Australia writedown

William Hill Image copyright PA

William Hill has been pushed into an annual loss after slashing the value of its Australian business.

The bookmaker reported a pre-tax loss of £74.6m for 2017, compared with a profit of £181.3m the year before.

That change was mainly due to a £238m charge the company took to write down the value of its business in Australia.

The writedown follows changes in regulation - with credit-funded betting now banned in Australia - and a rise in taxation in some states.

William Hill is currently carrying out a strategic review of its Australian business, which is due to be completed by mid-2018.

Online boost

Despite the hefty write-off pushing the company into a loss, William Hill said that its underlying performance had improved.

Net revenues rose 7% to £1.7bn, while adjusted operating profit climbed 11% to £291.3m.

William Hill said revenues from its online business rose 13%, which it said reflected improvements to its website and marketing.

On Tuesday, William Hill was hit with a £6.2m fine by the Gambling Commission for breaching anti-money-laundering and social responsibility regulations.

The Commission said the company did not do enough to ensure oversight measures were effective. As a result, 10 customers were able to deposit money linked to criminal offences.

In its results statement, William Hill reiterated that it had committed to carry out an independent review as a result of the findings, and would work to implement any recommendations that emerge.

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