London Markets: U.K. gambling operators pressured by credit-card ban

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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 888, -2.43%  , GVC Holdings GVC, +0.11%  , William Hill WMH, -1.48%  and Flutter Entertainment FLTR, -0.04%  , came as the U.K. Gambling Commission announced a ban that would take effect on April 14. Shares of Evolution Gaming EVO, -2.12%  , 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 UKX, +0.27%  declined 0.22% to 7600.68.

The pound GBPUSD, -0.1463%  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.

Opinion: Why would the Bank of England cut rates?

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