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Best of Chris Sieroty

Gaming Guru

Chris Sieroty

William Hill posts double-digit earnings, revenue growth

30 July 2012

William Hill Plc may be a new name in Nevada, but the company's success worldwide is clearly linked to its online and mobile gaming business, judging by its double-digit earnings growth for the year's first half.

Net revenue increased by 11 percent compared with the same period last year to just less than $1.1 billion, while profits before taxes increased 13 percent to $225.2 million, the London-based bookmaker announced Friday.

"We have seen strong performance in our multi-channel U.K. business in the first half, with good performance both OTC (over-the-counter) and machines in (2,375) retail shops, and with our focus on innovation and investment continuing to deliver strong growth at William Hill Online," CEO Ralph Topping said.

Topping said mobile is a priority and continues to outperform company expectations. William Hill said online net revenue for the first six months increased 30 percent, to $311.9 million.

"The sports book app, which has been top-ranked since its launch in the Apple App Store in mid-February, has delivered more than 40,000 new customers," Topping said. "Our rapidly growing mobile business increased to 22 percent of our online sports betting turnover and 11 percent of gaming net revenue in the first half."

Topping said the company made good progress in the first half of 2012 on its strategy of expanding internationally. The company was recently granted licenses to operate in Spain and Nevada.

"The first step for us was getting licensed in Nevada," Topping said. "It's a nonrestricted license. I can't overstate how important it is that we are now over that hurdle ."

In its earnings report, the company said it spent $49 million to acquire American Wagering Inc., Brandywine Bookmaking LLC and Club Cal Neva's sports book operations. William Hill U.S., based in Las Vegas, operates 164 locations, 83 kiosks, and has 400 employees.

Neil Cooper, group finance director at William Hill, said the company "expects earnings enhancement" from its first full year in Nevada.

Topping said, "It's good to see the William Hill brand in the states. It's a great source of pride. But we didn't buy these businesses to sit with our legs crossed beside the pool."

He said the United States is a $380 billion sports betting market, with less than 1 percent being legal wagering. In 2011, the sports book operators acquired by William Hill posted handle of $360 million, $21.6 million in win, for a win margin of 6.1 percent.

After $5.5 million in other revenues and $5.5 million in costs, the companies reported a gross profit of $21.6 million last year, William Hill said.
William Hill posts double-digit earnings, revenue growth is republished from