Bookmaker William Hill's revenue lifted by U.S. push, online demand

FILE PHOTO: A branded sign is displayed outside a William Hill betting shop in London, Britain July 25, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall/File Photo

(Reuters) - British bookmaker William Hill WMH.L on Thursday posted slightly higher revenue in the fourth months since its first-half results, benefiting from higher online gambling demand and its aggressive expansion in the United States.

The company is focusing on its online business in light of new rules, which cut the maximum stake allowed to 2 pounds from 100 pounds on high-speed slot machines. William Hill has also closed about 700 shops and is stepping up its push in the U.S.

In mapping out its online future, the company promoted its digital boss Ulrik Bengtsson to the chief executive role in September.

Online net revenue rose 26% for the 17 weeks ended Oct. 29, with a 60% jump in net revenue from the United States. Retail like-for-like net revenue fell 16% in the period.

William Hill reiterated its full-year expectations. It said in August it expects full-year adjusted operating profit to be in the middle of a range of 50 million pounds to 70 million pounds.

Already operating in 10 U.S. states and running a mobile betting app, William Hill on Thursday separately announced the purchase of sports book assets of CG Technology, including its Nevada and Bahamas operations.

Earlier this month, a cross-party group of lawmakers called for a raft of measures to overhaul online casinos including banning the use of credit cards and limiting maximum stakes in online gambling.

British betting companies have been pivoting to the United States after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a federal ban on sports betting. Some companies are even taking big bets with deals of their own, with Flutter Entertainment FLTRE.I, formerly known as Paddy Power Betfair, set to combine with Poker Stars owner Stars Group Inc (TSG) TSGI.TO.

(This story corrects to say William Hill operates in 10 U.S. states, not nine U.S. states, in the sixth paragraph.)

Reporting by Tanishaa Nadkar in Bengaluru: Editing by Bernard Orr