Quarterly Profits Fall At William Hill Despite Mobile Boost

UK bookmaker William Hill has posted a 31% year-on-year fall in quarterly group operating profit despite a huge increase in mobile gaming net revenue.

Operating profit slumped by £24 million in the period, about £20 million below expectations, with William Hill citing disappointing retail figures in July and unfavourable sportsbetting results as being major contributory factors.

However, mobile gaming net revenue increased by 126% in the three months until September 25, with mobile now accounting for 18% of gaming net revenue.

Total revenue for the quarter was 10% up on the corresponding period of 2012.

William Hill did report a 42% increase in sportsbook amounts wagered and also highlighted “good progress” with its operations in Australia and the US, where there was a 47% growth in wagering due to product proliferation and mobile expansion.

“I am pleased with the progress we have made in our strategic development during the third quarter,” William Hill chief executive officer Ralph Topping said.

“Online sportsbook staking growth goes from strength to strength, with growth in football wagering accelerating at the start of the new season driven by increased products, successful marketing and a strong focus on our prices and offers ahead of a World Cup year in 2014.

“Our intensive attention to the development of mobile online continues to yield results, generating 41% of wagering in sportsbook.

“During this quarter, results were not as favourable as in the comparable period, with outcomes – particularly in football – going the punters’ way. Consequently, gross win margins are below the prior year in both major channels, and below normalised expectations in sportsbook.

“It is of course important in our business to look through the impact of short-term results on trading.

“While the fundamental performance of the group remains good and there is time for the group’s shortfall versus internal expectation to be recouped should results turn in our favour, there can be no certainty that we will make up this shortfall before the end of the year.”

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