William Hill ‘reviewing’ Australian business

Business News

William Hill said its full-year operating profit was expected to come in ahead of expectations, though it was reviewing its Australian business following unfavorable rule changes. 

The book maker forecast full-year adjusted operating profit to grow by around 11% to around £290m.

This is ahead of expectations, reflecting good momentum in both the UK and US markets, stronger gross win margin and the benefits of the transformation programme,” the company said. In the nine weeks since the company’s last trading statement on 20 November, retail and online gross win margins were ahead of expectations, due to favourable football and horseracing results.

“As a result, wagering growth rates slowed but overall net revenue was very strong,” William Hill said.

Gaming growth rates continued to accelerate in online but slowed in retail. Internationally, the US continued to grow at double-digit rates while Australia was affected by reduced credit betting volumes.

Given the credit betting ban in Australia and the likely introduction of a so-called point of consumption tax in a number of states, it was clear that profitability would increasingly come under pressure. Therefore, the company said it was undertaking a strategic review of its Australia business.

We have delivered a strong result in 2017, reflecting our focus on rejuvenating online, growing the US and building an attractive omni-channel proposition,” chief executive Philip Bowcock said. At the same time, we are continuously improving how we enable customers to gamble responsibly. We are excited about the opportunities ahead in 2018 – a World Cup year – with our competitive position reasserted in the UK and with the potential for sports betting to open up in the US.