William Hill to Combine Retail and Online Business in the UK

Sports betting and gaming giant William Hill has announced that the company will combine its online and retail business to help it boost results in 2021 and seek a more streamlined approach of doing business in future.

William Hill Merges Online and Retail Businesses, Shuts Down Offices

William Hill has revealed plans to merge its online and retail business in the United Kingdom, with no further specificity offered about the move other than the fact that the company hopes to see this restructuring bolster financial recovery in 2021.

Merging divisions will require some management and corporate reshuffling, William Hill indicated, with UK online managing director Phil Walker stepping in as the head of the newly-emerging division.

Nicola Frampton who have led retail business will leave after helping Walker transition in the six months after the merger. William Hill CEO Ulrik Bengtsson has praised Frampton saying that she has been one of the key instigators of progress behind the William Hill brand and “instrumental in reshaping and transforming our retail business.”

Further shifts will take place with Charlotte Emery heading to the newly-created “Brand Center of Excellence”. As a commitment to further optimization, William Hill will shut its offices in Stockholm, Sweden. Acknowledging it was a tough decision, the company confirmed that it would seek the most streamlined approach to doing business in the future.

William Hill confirmed that this approach would most likely lead to layoffs and redundancies or in the very least, relocations.

William Hill Won’t Bounce Back in 2020

Results in 2020 have not been too reassuring. William Hill’s sports betting division has become destitute due to the COVID-19 outbreak and the subsequent shutdown of all sporting contests around the world.

This has impacted the company’s revenue significantly, reducing revenue by 57% between March 11 and April 28. The company also explained that the retail business has been more or less devastated because of the government-issued suspension of all non-essential businesses.

However, online has been able to pick up some action, like horse racing and various soccer competitions in Germany, Italy, and Spain have returned. In the United States, NASCAR, UFC, golf, and boxing bouts have also become available for punters to bet on.

Restructuring Retail Business and the Impact

William Hill should complete the move at some point in 2020, most likely in September, prior to the return of most other sports, including the NFL and the NBA, hockey, and other mainstream sporting contests. Last year was also a difficult one for William Hill as the retail business had to shut down over 700 betting shops, responding to fixed-odds betting terminal (FOBT) restrictions, reducing the stake down to $2.50 from $125 previously.

The decision was enforced on April 1, 2019, and led to the layoff of 4,500 company employees. While progress in the United Kingdom has been shaky at best, the company has been gathering its war chest to continue expanding in the United States.  

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