Posted 1/19/11 : ONLINE GAMBLING CONTINUES TO DRIVE WILL HILL'S SUCCESS

Strong growth from William Hill Online
 
The Gibraltar-based online division of UK gambling group William Hill plc has again made a significant contribution to group success, recording strong growth in Q4/2010, according to a statement from the company.
 
The group reported a continuation of the positive net revenue trend seen in previous quarters last year, driven primarily by online operations and gaming machines in the shops.
 
William Hill Online delivered a strong performance, reporting total online net revenue year-on-year growth of 24 percent.  Internet sports betting was especially successful, with turnover up 57 percent, including an impressive 114 percent rise in in-play turnover.
 
Online operations delivered a Q4 operating profit up 22 percent year-on-year, GBP5.9 million going to Playtech as Will Hill's internet partner. Over the year, operating profit topped GBP26.3 million.
 
Retail turnover grew around 8 percent year-on-year, driven by a strong machines performance following the roll-out of the ‘Storm' cabinets. OTC gross win margin was at the top end of the normal trading range at 17.9 percent. This was despite bad weather in the UK and Europe.
 
Retail net revenue grew by 3 percent year-on-year, with machines gross win growth of 13 percent. Telephone betting delivered an operating profit in the second half, making a profit over the fully year likely.
 
OTC gross win margins in the quarter reached 19 percent and were above expectations.
 
The update reveals that the gambling group anticipates achieving net revenue growth of 7 percent for the year as a whole, delivering pre-exceptional earnings before interest, tax and amortisation of around GBP275 million (2009: GBP 258.6 million).
 
Chief executive Ralph Topping said: “This is a strong performance and I am delighted that, in particular, our online business and the gaming machines in our shops continued to see encouraging revenue growth during Q4.
 
“Our continuing technological developments in what is a fast changing industry have underpinned growth and the doubling of our turnover from in-play this year demonstrates that customers are welcoming these innovations.”