Adjusted William Hill details confidence in 2019 outlook

The governance of FTSE250 betting group William Hill Plc details confidence in its future outlook as the company advances its digital and US market agendas, having adjusted its enterprise to UK regulatory demands.

Publishing its ‘unaudited’ trading statement for the 17 weeks to 30 April 2019, the betting  group records net revenues up 2% ‘reflecting a year of transition in its Retail and Online business’.

Integrating the assets of recently acquired MRG Group, William Hill records Online revenues up 8%, offset by the annualised impact of enhanced customer due diligence measures and a strong margin reported during the comparative period.

In its update, the FTSE bookmaker details that it has made significant progress adjusting to new UK retail demands enforcing £2 FOBTs stake limit, despite William Hill recording retail revenues down 7%.

Countering in-store gaming declines, William Hill details an improved (+2%) retail sportsbook performance during the period.

For the US, William Hill governance reports that total net revenues rose by 48% from active operations in seven US states that have currently legislated and regulated sports betting.

Philip Bowcock, William Hill Chief Executive Officer, commented: “Online continues to show good momentum as we focus on growing our mass market customer base, while Retail has begun to adapt to the new £2 machine gaming stake limit. Just one year on since PASPA was overturned William Hill has doubled the sports wagering it handles in the US, seen record performances at the Super Bowl and March Madness, is live in all seven states to have allowed sports betting and expects to enter further states soon, with Indiana and Iowa the most recent states to pass bills to legalise sports betting.

“As anticipated enhanced customer due diligence measures impacted revenues in our Online business in the period, while gross win margins returned to more normal levels. There were record actives for Cheltenham and the Grand National reflecting positive underlying customer trends, and we expect that the Mr Green performance will drive further progress in Online performance later this year.

“The impact of the introduction of the £2 stake limit has been in line with our expectations. We are confident in our plan to manage this major change, and will update more fully at the half year. “Our new advertising campaign featuring Anthony Joshua marks a step change for William Hill with the brand-led creative also integrating safer gambling messages. Through our Nobody Harmed ambition we remain focussed on setting the standards for the future and addressing public concerns and we are encouraged by continued industry collaboration in this area.”

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