William Hill revenue falls 16% in ‘challenging’ but transformative year

By Tom Rush

William Hill has marked 2020 a challenging yet transformative period in its full year report. The operator reported net revenue of £1.32bn ($1.84bn), a 16% drop on 2019’s performance.

The disruption of live sporting events and restrictions on land-based operations from Covid-19, coupled with the first full year operating with a reduced FOBT stake in the UK, saw retail net revenue drop 30% on a like-for-like basis. Year-on-year net revenue fell from £717m to £354.2m, leading to an adjusted operating loss of £29.5m, despite a 35% reduction in costs – partially managed through a store closure programme.

Nevertheless, the company restated its commitment to the market: “Retail continues to play a key role in sustaining the value of the William Hill brand and delivering a single view of our UK customer. We have begun to move towards an omni-channel offering, bringing UK Retail and UK Online together under one leadership team with one goal – to be our UK customer’s first choice for betting and gaming.” 

Online verticals (which represent 61% of group revenue), however, proved more resilient and delivered 9% net growth to £802m,

William Hill’s international operations saw a 16% increase in net revenue as the company continued to expand into new territories and UK product launches led the division to a record net revenue result of £503.2m.

The successful integration of Mr Green bolstered the company’s online reach in Europe, while the continued market penetration of its US operations saw net revenue rise by 32% to £167.3m, having opened in five new states.

Ulrik Bengtsson, CEO, said: "We began the year well and finished the year even stronger, highlighting the traction generated by our strategic focus on customer, team, execution."

Looking forward, the operator stated: “Inevitably 2021 will see significant changes within the group. Caesars' current expectation is that the remaining approvals required to be obtained from the relevant US gaming authorities will be received in time to allow completion of the acquisition to occur early in the second quarter of 2021 and possibly as early as March 2021."


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