- The disruption of live sporting events and closures and restrictions to retail and casinos by Covid-19 caused William Hill's net revenue for the year to fall 16%.

Although this was partially offset by growth in online gaming, the company has reported a 61% fall in its adjusted operating profit.

Online delivered 9% net revenue growth, while international grew net revenue 16% and expanded into new territories. Platform and product launches for UK Online benefitted in the second half of the year, generating record net revenue of £503.2m.

Retail responded to pandemic restrictions with agility and resilience, the company said, but net revenue fell 51%, -30% on a like-for-like basis.

The results for the year ending December 31, 2020, show a statutory profit before tax of £51.0m, which benefitted from the VAT receipt of £208.3m that more than offset the Retail non-cash impairment of £125.7m and costs of £70.4m associated with the cash offer from Caesars Entertainment.

Ulrik Bengtsson, CEO, said: 'In 2020 we put our strategic plans firmly into action, diversifying our geographical footprint, expanding our team's capabilities and rebuilding our technology. We are embedding proprietary components across the platform architecture and are delivering a constant flow of new features including faster product experience, improved navigation and greater protection to our customers around the world.

'The performance in the second half is clear testimony that our strategy is bearing fruit. In the UK, the competitive position of our online offerings for both gaming and sports has been materially strengthened, and our omni-channel product is delivering encouraging early results. Retail has undergone regional disruption although where stores did re-open, they quickly traded towards pre-Covid levels.'

He added that the international online performance, where the company has invested in product and technology, is producing clear benefits, particularly in light of the regulatory headwinds in Germany and temporary restrictions elsewhere.

'We will continue to benefit from our agile marketing engine, and the recent agreement to acquire Alfabet S.A.S. in Colombia and our licence in Argentina both offer further promising growth opportunities in Latin America,' he said. 'The US traded well into the year-end, concluding the year with 19% market share and delivering a profitable return. Our partnerships have ensured that brand awareness has risen, our product offering has expanded, and our end-to-end proprietary tech is facilitating rapid new state openings.'

At 9:31am: [LON:WMH] William Hill PLC share price was 0p at 267.4p

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