Sunday January 12,2014 : BOOKIE RESPONDS ON F.O.B.T. ISSUE (Update)
Outlines industry measures on betting shop machines
Against a backdrop of a failed parliamentary vote to restrict Fixed Odds Betting Terminals and a largely negative UK media blizzard of criticism of the betting machines, a UK bookmaker has commented on the issue in a bid to allay concerns.
The William Hill plc spokesman noted the industry was due to voluntarily introduce a responsible gambling code by March 2013, while a detailed study into the machines and their impact is due to be completed in the UK autumn.
“The industry will continue to work with both Government and the regulator to look at more harm reduction measures, such as increasing the level of responsible gambling messaging in advertising, to supplement the code,” he said.
"We believe that a harm reduction strategy should be informed by facts.”
William Hill is less reliant on FOBTs than its main rival Ladbrokes, the Express newspaper pointed out over the weekend.
According to Barclays analysts, Ladbrokes has greater exposure to the machines, with 43 percent of estimated earnings before interest and tax expected to come from them. They believe that terminals account for 26 percent of William Hill’s earnings, the newspaper reported.
Whilst bookie company shares took a hammering in the wake of the parliamentary debate and generally adverse media coverage last week, both Ladbrokes and William Hill investors are expecting solid results Thursday and Friday when both companies are due to post their latest full year performance figures.
William Hill’s 2013 takings are expected to be up 15 percent to GBP 1.5 billion according to City analysts, while flat revenues of GBP 1.1 billion are forecast for rival Ladbrokes.
Ladbrokes investors will be particularly interested to see how management has managed to improve the company's ailing internet and mobile gambling fortunes.