The British bookmaker William Hill has revealed a sharp decline in revenues as a result of betting shop closures and lockdown restrictions because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, even with its online operations registering growth.
On January 13th, the group issued a trading statement, projecting that its 2020 full-year revenue would be about 16% lower than the one registered in 2019, or about £1.3 billion. William Hill further said that it expected its retail unit to post a £30-million year-on-year loss because of the challenging conditions faced by its land-based outlets during the pandemic. For the time being, the company has 1,444 high-street betting shops.
A 5% growth was registered in the company’s online revenues in the UK, while a 12% increased was registered in the online revenues of William Hill after the firm rolled out the Mr Green brand in two new regions. After the ending of the first lockdown and the return of live sport, even more gamblers turned to betting applications fill the void of placing wagers in high-street betting shops because of the social distancing measures.
As explained by the CEO of William Hill, Ulrik Bengtsson, 2020 had been an unparalleled year for the company. He further noted that the UK gambling group had made considerable progress and it would continue to do so by taking advantage of the opportunities and handling the challenges ahead.
William Hill Shareholders Give Their Approval to Takeover Deal Proposed by Caesars Entertainment
A couple of months ago, in November 2020, William Hill’s shareholders gave the green light to the takeover bid made by the US casino giant Caesars Entertainment, which is already a joint venture partner of the company in the US.
When finalised, the deal, which valued it at a total of £2.9 billion, could actually end up dividing the UK gambling group because Caesars Entertainment has revealed plans to sell off the UK and European assets of William Hill. So far, a number of bidders have said they were interested in a possible acquisition of these assets, with the online gambling operator 888 Holdings being one of the potential competitors.
William Hill shared expectations that the takeover deal could be finalised as early as March 2021and further revealed that its net revenues generated from its operations in the US had risen by nearly one-third.
According to one of the analysts at Regulus Partners, Paul Leyland, William Hill’s expansion in the US had been held back by the disruption of retail gambling services. According to Mr Layland, the roll-out of the UK gambling company’s online casino product in New Jersey came a little too late, considering that the state is currently the biggest gambling market among the US states.
However, the analyst from Regulus Partners also shared that the British gambling operator had an impressive performance at the end of the year despite the material UK market share loss generated because of the closures of its land-based operations and the restrictions that the country’s Government had imposed on trading as a result of the coronavirus pandemic outbreak.