By Steve Goldstein, MarketWatch
Shares of U.K. gambling companies slumped Tuesday after a ban on credit-card use was announced.
The slump, which hit companies including 888 Holdings /zigman2/quotes/206991878/delayed UK:888 -4.82% , GVC Holdings /zigman2/quotes/207493593/delayed UK:GVC -7.49% , William Hill /zigman2/quotes/201135907/delayed UK:WMH -1.47% and Flutter Entertainment /zigman2/quotes/208882914/delayed UK:FLTR -1.56% , came as the U.K. Gambling Commission announced a ban that would take effect on April 14. Shares of Evolution Gaming /zigman2/quotes/208815622/delayed SE:EVO +0.09% , which derived 13% of its third-quarter revenue from the U.K., dropped in Stockholm.
The commission cited data showing 800,000 U.K. customers use credit cards to gamble, and 22% of online gamblers who use credit cards to gamble are classed as problem gamblers.
Analysts at Davy Research said the move had been anticipated and also noted that the percentage who use credit cards exclusively is less than 2%, citing an estimate from Flutter. They said a 2% reduction in U.K. online revenue would hit profits in the sector by about 1.5%.
More broadly, the FTSE 100 /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX -3.83% declined 0.22% to 7600.68.
The pound /zigman2/quotes/210561263/realtime/sampled GBPUSD +0.2022% stayed under the $1.30 level for a second day as traders put more bets on the likelihood of the Bank of England cutting interest-rates this year — or even this month. Based on futures prices, markets are pricing in a 47% chance of a rate reduction on Jan. 30 , up from just 4% last week.
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