- Gambling company William Hill posted a first-half loss after it was hurt by a UK regulatory cap on bet sizes and incurred expenses investing in a US expansion.

The company, however, also showed signs of positive progress in the budding US market, where its market share in the seven states that had legalised gambling during the period climbed to 27%.

Pre-tax losses for the six months through 2 July amounted to £63.5m, compared to losses of £819.6m on-year.

Revenue rose 1% to £811.7m, adjusted pre-tax profit fell 47% to £50.8 and adjusted operating profit fell 33% to £76.2m.

On 1 April, the UK government introduced a £2 betting cap on fixed-odd sports betting terminals.

William Hill declared an interim dividend of 2.66p per share, down 38% on-year, which it said was consistent with its pledge to not let its annual dividend fall below 8p per share.

'We are making good progress against the five-year strategy we outlined last year, delivering strong revenue growth in the US and other international markets and positioning William Hill well for future growth,' chief executive Philip Bowcock said.

'We continue to expand rapidly in the US, both in Nevada and in the new states, with over $1bn wagered with us in the first half.'

'We are now live in eight states and will expand into at least two more states in the second half.'

'Online international revenues have grown strongly, up 66%, with the acquisition of Mr Green.'

Bowcock said the company was becoming more diversified, with non-UK markets now contributing a third of online's revenues.

"In retail we took the tough decision to announce a consultation process over the proposed closure of around 700 shops to protect the long-term future of the business following the introduction of the £2 stake limit,' he said. Story provided by