Investors in major bookies began cashing in their chips after 888 signalled the online gambling boom is running out of steam.
888 slumped to the bottom of the FTSE 250 leaderboard after bosses said they were ‘mindful’ that customers were likely to play fewer virtual games once the final Covid restrictions lift.
Average daily revenues have fallen by 20 per cent year-on-year since rules on retail and leisure venues were relaxed on May 17, 888 said.
888 slumped to the bottom of the FTSE 250 leaderboard after bosses said they were ‘mindful’ that customers were likely to play fewer virtual games once the final Covid restrictions lift
And players in England are likely to be even more distracted once social distancing ends on July 19 and people can return to sites such as pubs, cinemas and casinos without limits on capacity.
Punters are now likely to return to pre-pandemic habits, which were less reliant on placing online bets.
The company, which operates poker, casino, bingo and sports betting businesses, is also worried about ‘regulatory and compliance changes’.
Stock Watch – Accesso Technology
Accesso Technology believes turnover will surge and pass £725million this year as people flock back to theme parks and tourist sites.
This was more than the AIM-listed group, which provides virtual ticketing and queuing technology in the US and UK, was expecting.
It will benefit from people desperate to have days out now that lockdown restrictions are lifting and the need for attractions to manage the number of visitors that companies let into their sites so that they do not become too crowded.
Shares climbed by 3.4 per cent, or 20p, to 610p.
Tighter regulation has weighed on gambling groups for several years. But despite the gloom, 888 said it was ‘slightly ahead’ of targets and turnover rose 20 per cent to £186million in the three months to June. The shares dipped 6.5 per cent, or 27p, to 386p.
Paddy Power-owner Flutter Entertainment also slid, closing 1.8pc lower, down 2.9p, to 156.1p, while Ladbrokes parent company Entain dropped by 3.3 per cent, or 62p, to 1807.5p.
Builders shrugged off a survey from mortgage lender Halifax that showed house prices fell for the first time in five months.
The average value of a home fell 0.5 per cent to £260,358 in June, though prices were still 8.8 per cent – or £21,000 – higher than a year earlier.
Taylor Wimpey rose 0.4 per cent, or 0.65p, to 164.2p, Barratt Developments climbed 0.4 per cent, or 2.8p, to 714.8p, and Persimmon was up by 1.2 per cent, or 37p, to 3070p.
Vistry, formerly known as Bovis Homes, reassured the market by saying the increase in house prices is still comfortably outstripping an increase in construction costs.
It said it was outperforming its expectations and expects to deliver 6,500 homes this year. Vistry rose 0.6 per cent, or 7.5p, to 1220p.
And Redrow – up 3.2 per cent, or 19.8p, to 649.2p – released a bullish update that reported turnover in the year to June was expected to hit £1.94billion.
The rise in housebuilder stocks and a jump in blue-chip mining companies sent the FTSE 100 0.7 per cent higher, up 50.14 points, to 7151.02 by the close. The FTSE 250 edged 0.3 per cent higher, up 74.88 points, to 22,970.24.
Investors cheered promising numbers from two of the UK’s biggest recruitment companies, which indicate there has been a rise slight rise in hiring in Britain.
Page Group – up 3 per cent, or 17p, to 592.5p – said UK profits were still 9 per cent below 2019 levels in the most recent quarter.
But all its other markets, particularly Asia-Pacific, are thriving.
Robert Walters rose 4.1 per cent, or 30p, to 756p, and also said Asia-Pacific was booming. But it added that there had been an uptick in hiring in London’s finance, legal and technology industries.
Chief executive Robert Walters said the rise in recruitment levels meant its full-year profit is likely to be ‘significantly ahead’ of estimates.
The saga of Australian group Ramsay’s attempted takeover of private hospital group Spire Healthcare took another turn.
Spire said it would delay a vote on the £1.4billion offer after pushback from Toscafund, which owns 8 per cent of shares, on the 250p-per-share bid.
It said shareholders had requested extra time to make up their minds, and slipped 4.8 per cent, or 11.5p, to 226.5p.
Elsewhere, On the Beach raised another £26million to give it more ‘firepower’ to get through ongoing travel disruptions. Shares in the online travel agent fell 8.9 per cent, or 31p, to 316.5p.
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