UK bookmaker William Hill has today forecast annual profit ahead of analysts' estimates, powered by favourable sporting results in December.

The company also said it expects its US business to break-even for the year. 

William Hill, which has aggressively expanded into the US, said its division's fourth quarter was bolstered by growth in wagering.

It said it expects to break-even in the US compared with its previous view of a range between no-profit and a loss of $20m. 

Betting companies have been pivoting to the US after the US Supreme Court overturned a federal ban on sports betting, while proposed regulatory curbs in the UK are posing a challenge to gambling firms at home. 

The company said its online operations in the UK grew in line with the market, adding that weakness in gaming revenue was offset by strong sporting gross win margin. 

Retail business generated profit above its guided range as sporting results were above the long-term gross win margin range. 

The company said full-year adjusted operating profit for 2019 from continuing operations is expected to be in the range of £143-148m. 

Separately, the company announced that its chief financial officer Ruth Prior intends to step down from her role.

Over the weekend, BoyleSports said it had bought William Hill's chain of 33 shops in Northern Ireland and two shops in the Isle of Man.