Bookmaker William Hill has revealed a £20m blow to profits after early season football results went the way of punters.
The chain, which has around 2,400 outlets, also blamed a quiet July for the disappointing third quarter performance, although it said demand picked up in August and September.
With fewer draws in the big football matches, William Hill said sporting results had not been as favourable as the same period a year earlier.
It said operating profits for the quarter to October 1 were down 31% on a year ago, with the figure for the year-to-date down 4%.
The warning comes a week after rival Ladbrokes said profits from digital operations will be more than £10m short of hopes in the current financial year.
Despite the poor quarter, William Hill said there was still time for it to recoup the shortfall should sporting results turn in its favour. It is also encouraged by the staking levels and gaming machine performance in its shops in August and September, with football wagers in its retail estate up 27% in the quarter.
Chief executive Ralph Topping said: “It is of course important in our business to look through the impact of short-term results on trading.”
This was reflected in the FTSE 100 company’s share price, which held firm despite the warning that quarterly profits were around £20 million short of its expectations.