Gambling company William Hill booked a second consecutive annual loss after it was hit by a £2 stake limit on fixed-odds betting terminals in the UK. Pre-tax losses for the year through December amounted to £37.6m, compared to losses of £721.9m on-year, and included adjustments of £134.1m related to shop closures and redundancies. Revenue fell 2% to £1.58bn, while adjusted operating profit fell 37% to £147.0m. William Hill declared a full-year dividend of 8.0p per share, down 33% on-year. The company is trying to offset pressure in its home market by expanding into the budding US gambling sector, where its revenue rose 38%, capturing nationwide market share of 24%. It also expanded its international reach with the acquisition of Sweden-based online gambling group Mr. Green, for which William Hill achieved annual cost synergies of £4m. '2019 was a year of transition during which we executed on our ambition to diversify internationally with the acquisition of Mr Green and the continued strong growth of our US business,' chief executive Ulrik Bengtsson said. 'The group delivered a strong operating performance, ahead of our expectations and against a challenging regulatory backdrop.'
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