Shares in a number of UK-quoted gambling firms have shot up in value following news that sports betting could be legalised on a multi-state basis in the US.

William Hill (WMH) jumps by 8.3% to 306.2p, 888 (888) advances by 13% to 305.6p, Sportech (SPO) jumps by 11% to 69.5p, GVC (GVC) moves 5.1% higher to 920p and Webis (WEB:AIM) rises by 65% to 1.65p.

Paddy Power Betfair (PPB), the UK's largest listed bookmaking business, heads the FTSE 100 risers after jumping more than 9% to £77.70.

A landmark ruling from the US Supreme Court could lead to US states legalising betting on college and professional sports.

The court ruling struck down a federal law that required states to ban gambling on sports events. It could lead to legal sports betting in numerous sates rather than in select places such as Nevada. Allowing sports betting could be a lucrative source of tax income for states.

This is a dramatic turnaround for many UK-quoted gambling stocks which had previously experienced setbacks with the opening up of the US gambling sector.

The surprise news is very important for a select number of UK stocks which still have a presence in the US and could be in pole position to benefit from any industry developments.

The group of UK stocks includes William Hill which employs around 400 people in the US, mainly in casino-based sports books in Nevada.

‘There continues to be a lot of discussion in the US about the potential for overturning the federal ban on land-based sports betting and for licensing online gaming in other states,’ says William Hill on its website.

‘While it is unclear how such changes may evolve, we want to ensure William Hill is well positioned to take advantage of emerging opportunities.’

GVC has a licence to operate in New Jersey and Nevada and may well seek acquisitions if the US opens up sports betting on a wide scale.

888 entered the regulated US online gaming market in 2013. Sportech has recently been positioning itself to take advantage of any legislation of sports betting.

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Issue Date: 14 May 2018