William Hill Posts £721.9M Loss Due To FOBT Write Down But Revenue Up

Betting giant William Hill posts £721.9m pre-tax loss for 2018 due to FOBT write-down, but revenues up and US shows promise.

UK-based betting giant William Hill has posted a £721.9m (€840.3m/$955.8m) pre-tax loss for 2018.

The dramatic figure was due to a £882.8m write-down of the value of its high street bookies business in preparation for the introduction of the £2 stake limit for FOBTs in April.

As alarming as the headline figure sounds, William Hill actually saw revenue grow 2% year-on-year to £1.6bn, and things are looking promising in the rapidly expanding US market.

Despite the company incurring a loss of £33.2m for the year in the US due to significant set-up costs, it is now has new operations in New Jersey, Delaware, Rhode Island, Mississippi, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, in addition to its existing business in Nevada.

Other key figures for 2018:

  • Total online revenue up 3% to £616.9m
  • Online sports betting revenue up 3% to £318.7m
  • Online gaming revenue up 2% to £315.7m
  • Total wagered on online sports betting down slightly to £4.7bn (attributed to increased due diligence checks following £6.2m settlement with UKGC for social responsibility failings in Feb.)
  • UK revenue of £484m
  • Other markets revenue of £150.4m
  • Active users up 25% to 3m
  • Mobile sports revenue share up 6% to 83%
  • Mobile gaming revenue share up 11% to 80%
  • William Hill US revenue growth up 38% to £79.7m

Reflecting on the year chief executive of William Hill, Philip Bowcock said:

“Key regulatory decisions in the UK and US gave us much needed clarity to set a new five-year strategy and a goal to double profits by 2023,

“We have three businesses at different stages, with online growing in the UK and diversifying internationally, retail being remodelled in response to the new £2 stake limit, and rapid expansion in the US sports betting market.”

“We have started delivering on our strategy with the expansion of our US business, being first out of the blocks in all states that have regulated sports betting, and with the acquisition of Mr Green, which will support the build-out of our international digital business,

“We have also put our weight behind reducing the amount of TV gambling advertising seen by under 18s through a voluntary whistle-to-whistle advertising ban before the watershed.

“We know the next few years will require careful navigating and investment, but with a clear strategy and diverse, experienced leadership teams in place we are ready to capitalise on the opportunities available to us.”

You can read the full report here.

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