British betting giant William Hill has seen its profits plunge by 47% in the first half of 2019, despite revenue increasing slightly.
William Hill reported an adjusted loss of £45.5m before tax for H1 2019, which equates to an eye-watering 47% drop year-on-year. This, despite revenue growing 1% to £811.7m.
The operator was expecting to take a big hit from the introduction of £2 maximum stake limits on high street Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) – down from £100. In the event it saw adjusted profit down 33% to £76.2m.
And, it wasn’t just William Hill’s land-based operations that took a hit – its online UK net revenue also fell by 1%, with the company blaming weak sports results and enhanced customer due diligence.
Despite the FOBT debacle causing William Hill to announce the closure of 700 retail shops in the UK, things look more promising ‘across the pond’ in the US, where the operator has been investing in establishing a sizable footprint.
Though this investment also dented the company’s figures for H1, the US already has eight states offering legal sports betting, and two more are set to pass legislation shortly, so the sheer scale of the opportunity has obviously persuaded the company its worth the short-term hit.
Indeed, William Hill says it will be ready to launch a proprietary sports betting platform in US markets in time for the upcoming NFL season – something that will give it an opportunity to further cement itself as a leading US operator, though William Hill CEO Philip Bowcock has said he doesn’t expect US growth to show tangible results until Q3 and beyond.
You can find the full William Hill H1 2019 report here.