William Hill Group Results Down in Q3, Online and Int. Up

William Hill has posted stronger-than-expected Q3, 2020 results, with online business soaring and retail taking a slight tumble over the period.

Online Continues to Grow in Third Quarter for William Hill

William Hill has published its latest financial update covering the third quarter for the year and specifically the 13 weeks leading up to September 29. Even though total group revenue took a tumble and fell 9% year-on-year, William Hill remained optimistic about its prospects.

The company was battered by retail shut-downs due to Covid-19 but it was then boosted by the return of major leagues and other events, bringing sports betting back online.

However, results have been less predictable due to the pandemic and the sporadic nature of regulations in various jurisdictions. Having sports events take place behind closed doors has played an essential part in what William Hill described as “volatile gross win margins” and the company expects this trend to keep through in the fourth quarter.

Commenting on the company’s finances so far, William Hill chief executive Ulrik Bengtsson expressed his satisfaction with the results:

“We are very pleased with the trading performance of the group, which has been borne out of the commitment, resilience and hard work of our teams across the business, and I could not be prouder of them.”

-William Hill CEO Ulrik Bengtsson

Strong Financial Results despite Pandemic

Most of this optimism in William Hill’s midst comes from the company’s ability to expand and bolster its online operations despite the spate of restrictions.

The company reported a 4% year-over-year increase in online revenue and said that the UK market’s performance improved by 4%, and international operations expanded by another 6%.

William Hill has been working to minimize the impact of the pandemic and used the downtime between March and September to overhaul its offer in Great Britain. The company added a number of improvements to its user interface and user experience, introducing a new bet slip among other features.

William Hill has been pushing to expand into new markets and specifically in the iGaming vertical in which the company reported an 8% net gaming revenue increase in Q3. The company bought out Mr. Green back in 2019, paying a hefty €270 million.

Mr Green has successfully obtained an iGaming license in Spain earlier this month, putting William Hill’s gaming business on a growth trajectory once again.

Meanwhile, the company is also looking to break into the German sports betting market which has just undergone re-regulation. GVC Holdings was among the first companies to secure a license for sports betting in Germany last week.

Retail Sector Continues to Struggle

While William Hill was able to derive positives from the pandemic, the company has also come under heavy fire in the retail sector, with revenue for its land-based business declining by 2%.

Sports betting spend fell by just 4% during the period, even though the UK gave a green light to betting shops fairly late in June. William Hill didn’t roll its entire fleet of betting shops, though, some 1,414 as of now, and chose to keep 119 venues closed.

To add to William Hill’s woes and Q4 outlook, the government has issued new strict regulations that mandate the closures of non-essential businesses, including casinos and betting shops, with 10% of William Hill’s venues currently located in high-risk areas.

The company has been successful in hedging against adversity, though, and moved in successfully on the US market. There, sports betting revenue climbed by 55% and gaming revenue increased by over 100%.

William Hill has been keeping a diverse portfolio, bolstering both its iGaming as well as its sports betting segment. In a recent partnership with Disney’s ESPN, the company became an official supplier of odds.

Bengtsson has remained an unshakable optimist about the company’s future, even though group revenue for the first three months fell by 35% in the retail sector in both the UK and the USA.

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