US – William Hill handles over $1bn bets in the US so far this yearBy Phil - 12 August 2019
William Hill has now handled over $1bn bets in the US in 2019 where it has taken a 27 per cent share of the sports betting market across eight states with two more due to go live.
It said it was building a ‘scale business’ in US sports betting and was ‘on track to launch market-leading and proprietary sports betting technology platform ahead of NFL season.’
Eldorado Resorts’ acquisition of Caesars Entertainment, if completed, would provide access to 34 additional casinos, which William Hill anticipates would generate between US$20 and $35m additional retail EBITDA within three years, as well as taking it into five incremental states including New York.
Philip Bowcock, Chief Executive Officer of William Hill, said: “We are making good progress against the five-year strategy we outlined last year, delivering strong revenue growth in the US and other international markets and positioning William Hill well for future growth. We continue to expand rapidly in the US, both in Nevada and in the new states, with over $1bn wagered with us in the first half. We are now live in eight states and will expand into at least two more states in H2.”
The company is due to launch with Eldorado Resorts to open two newly constructed sports books in Iowa at Isle Casino Hotel Bettendorf and Isle Casino Hotel Waterloo.
Bettors at both locations will have access to William Hill’s innovative wagering technology, kiosks, and InPlay wagering menu.
“We are thrilled to build on our already extensive relationship with Eldorado Resorts as the sports betting industry continues to gain momentum. As a growth-fueled company, they have taken monumental steps to become leaders in the gaming industry,” said David Grolman, President of Retail Operations for William Hill US. “These two Iowa destinations will offer sports fans amazing new opportunities to enjoy the games and teams they love in new and exciting settings.”
The company’s business stateside has eased the pain of the £2 stake change on FOBTs in the UK. It said its first half results were ‘in line with expectations during a period of transition and the first year of a new strategy.’
Group net revenue up one per cent to £811.7m, impacted by £2 stake limit on gaming machines in betting shops and reflecting the acquisition of Mr Green.
Adjusted operating profit was down 33 per cent to £76.2m reflecting £2 stake limit and investment in US expansion.
“In Retail we took the tough decision to announce a consultation process over the proposed closure of around 700 shops to protect the long-term future of the business following the introduction of the £2 stake limit. The response of our colleagues has been incredibly professional during this difficult time and I would like to thank each and every one of them for that,” Mr. Bowcock said. “Underpinning William Hill’s progress is our sustainability strategy and long-term ambition that nobody is harmed by gambling. The voluntary whistle-to-whistle ban has begun and we have, together with other leading operators, committed to a significant increase in funding for safer gambling measures, including for treatment. We continue to work on additional measures to protect our customers and lead the regulatory agenda.”
William Hill now plans to diversify its online offering with contribution from international markets increasing to 33 per cent of net revenue in H1. Online UK net revenue down one per cent reflecting weaker sports results year on year and enhanced customer due diligence, year on year impact now at an end.
Mr. Bowcock added: “Online International revenues have grown strongly, up 66 per cent, with the acquisition of Mr Green. We are becoming more diversified with non-UK markets now contributing a third of Online’s revenues, up from just 24 per cent last year. In the UK, performance has improved through the half, up seven per cent in Q2, as we manage the tax and regulatory impacts.