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London-listed international bookmaker, William Hill, has reported a great start of the year with 3% increase in group net revenue for the 17-week period up to 24 April.
Strong growth in William Hill online and US divisions led to this good performance, which was in line with the market expectations for 2018.
They assumed normalized gross margin with revenue up by 1%, including the discontinued Australian business, which was sold to CrownBet in April for $234 million and dropped by 22% year-on-year during the period. The company believes that the sale of Australia business will further strengthen their balance sheet.
Strong online performance in the United States helped to offset weakness in retail, where business was hit by punters having fewer winnings to recycle and also 15% of the UK and Irish horseracing fixtures being cancelled.
The US revenues had the biggest rise during the period, increasing 45% year-on-year while total net online revenue was up for 12% until 24 April.
Strong US performance was mainly due to a 17% growth in bets being placed on a number of important US sporting events in the first 17 weeks of the year including Superbowl, Masters Tournament and the NCAA’s March Madness Tournament. The online net revenue was up thanks to very “strong football and horseracing results in the early part of 2018” combined with good results in Cheltenham and Grand National horseracing events.
Total net revenues from William Hill dropped by 4% year-on-year mainly because of the 13% drop in bets during in the first 17 weeks but the gross win margin rose by 18.8%.
Commenting the William Hill performance so far, Philip Bowock, the company’s CEO explained that they had a positive start of 2018 and they will continue to make progress, drive international revenues and deliver key projects.
“Continued momentum in online and strong growth in the US has driven a good performance during the period. In the UK, an unprecedented run of bookmaker-friendly sporting results led to unusual wagering and gaming trends, which we expect to normalize over time. The sale of our Australia business has further strengthened our balance sheet.”
They are currently waiting for the Supreme Court’s decision on US sports betting legislation and the UK Triennial Review but they look ahead and remain focused on their goals.