4/20/2012 : ONLINE REVENUE SOARS AT WILLIAM HILL PLC
Online operations numbers up 33 percent on the back of strong Q1 sportsbook results
Britain's online and land gambling giant William Hill plc released its Q1 numbers to March 27th on Friday, reporting strong online performance, especially in the sportsbook sector.
Group net revenue grew by 12 percent in the quarter, with online net revenue up 33 percent, retail net revenue up 5 percent, and operating profit 19 percent higher.
Mobile sportsbook app. downloads were strong at 190,000 with 30 percent of customers new to William Hill. Launched in February, the app. has consistently ranked in the top five free sports apps.
"I am pleased by our strong performance in the first quarter, said chief executive Ralph Topping. "Sportsbook wagering grew by 31 percent, OTC wagering saw underlying growth after taking into account adverse weather during the quarter and sports results contributed to a strong margin.
"Our investments in marketing and innovations continue to deliver benefits, with our Sportsbook exceeding GBP 50 million in turnover in a single week for the first time during the quarter and mobile turnover reaching almost GBP 11 million in a single week.
"Our mobile performance is now benefitting from our Sportsbook app being available in the Apple App Store, giving us access to thousands of new customers who have never bet with William Hill before, highlighting the growth potential of these new channels and their importance to our multi-channel offering."
Group results illustrated a strong year-on-year profit growth in Q1 2012, with net revenue up 12 percent and a rise of 19 percent in operating profit, driven in no small measure by continued strong growth from William Hill Online, the group's joint venture with Playtech plc.
WHO delivered 33 percent year-on-year growth in net revenue over the period, producing an operating profit of GBP 38.3 million, up 29 percent on the prior year. Playtech's non-controlling interest was GBP 10.8 million.
Sportsbook net revenue was 58 percent higher than in Q1 2011 with amounts wagered up 31 percent and the gross win margin above the expected average at 8.8 percent (Q1 2011: 7.3 percent).
Mobile betting again turned in a stellar performance, with amounts wagered up more than 370 percent in the period. Bets placed via mobile devices accounted for around 19 percent of total Sportsbook turnover in Q1-2012.
Gaming net revenue grew 19 percent; casino net revenue was up 26 percent through 37 percent growth in the Playtech-powered casino and 16 percent in Vegas Casino games.
Bingo net revenue was up 7 percent following the launch of mobile bingo in the period, but poker again performed poorly and was down 8 percent.
Marketing investment totalling 26 percent of net revenue was recorded for the quarter.
In January, the Group announced that Inspired Gaming Group would be the sole machine supplier to the Retail estate. The roll-out of the new multi-screen Storm Plus machines to the 21% of shops currently not supplied by Inspired is underway and will be completed by the end of the first half. Trials of Storm Plus in 100 shops have shown a significant out-performance compared with the existing Storm estate.
The management report notes the UK government's intention to impose a ‘point of consumption' (POC) tax on the remote gambling industry. Government has indicated that it currently expects to apply a 15 percent gross profits tax from December 2014, although the timing and rate will be reviewed and there will be further consultations on implementation.
"The Group's view remains that there is no demonstrable need for the proposed POC regulation based on consumer protection, which is the government's justification, and that rigorous enforcement would be required to avoid market distortion," the William Hill report observes.
Management also commented on reports that the company's Nevada licensing application to complete William Hill's US acquisitions had been delayed.
The report comments that in fact the application is progressing well and remains within the timetable. Playtech is required to produce a submission to the regulator as a key supplier and partner, which is imminent.
The group's net debt stood at GBP 355 million at the end of the period, down from the GBP 416 million recorded at 27 December 2011.