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William Hill’s 2017 results set to exceed expectations amidst Australia woes

By Caroline Watson
In an update to investors, William Hill has predicted a 11% year-on-year increase in profit for its 2017 full-year financial results. The forecasted results exceed analyst expectations, with full-year profit likely to come in at approximately £290m.

In a statement, the company hailed the impressive results to ‘good momentum’ in both the UK and US markets.

In addition, Will Hill also stated that its retail and online gross margins were "significantly ahead" in the nine weeks from 20 November, thanks to favourable football and horse-racing results.

William Hill’s Chief Executive, Philip Bowcock, commented: “We have delivered a strong result in 2017, reflecting our focus on rejuvenating online, growing the US and building an attractive omni-channel proposition. At the same time, we are continuously improving how we enable customers to gamble responsibly.

“We are excited about the opportunities ahead in 2018 - a World Cup year - with our competitive position reasserted in the UK and with the potential for sports betting to open up in the US.”

Furthermore, Will Hill has alluded to the fact that it will be ceasing its operation in Australia, with the company “undertaking a strategic review”, as the costs linked to running the division are starting to outweigh the positives.

The bookmaker entered the Australian market back in 2013, with a $670m purchase of Sportingbet and the acquisition of tomwaterhouse.com later that year. However, in the company’s 2016 yearly financial results, Australia only made up 7% of the companies £1.6bn revenue.

However, Australia is currently working to implement a credit betting ban, which will in turn prevent companies from offering customers lines of credit with which to bet. The region also is likely to introduce a consumption tax in a number of states, which would understandably put a great deal of pressure on operating costs.

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