William Hill will continue to look beyond the UK in the future and has online to thank for its figures staying on the straight and narrow over. The firm’s trading update showed figures for 2011 project a 6% year-on-year rise in net revenue with a slight drop in operating profit from £276million to £274m. This was remedied by William Hill Online (WHO) reporting a YoY revenue growth increase of 28% with sportsbook wagers up 51% – double what they were in 2009. Sportsbook net revenue upped its game by 36% and sportsbook bets placed using a mobile device reflected a gaming industry trend by increasing 500%. For the full WHO operation they expect operating profit to hit £106million, an increase of almost 17%. Commenting on the firm’s future plans, CEO Ralph Topping said: “As a multi-channel gambling company with a strong management team, we continue to be well placed to leverage the benefits the William Hill brand brings us. I believe there are more opportunities to grow in the UK with investment in marketing and in new technology and innovation taking place in all our channels. There are also good opportunities for the business beyond our traditional roots as more governments open up to regulated gambling. We will, therefore, continue to invest in taking our brand and our capabilities beyond the UK in 2012 and future years.”
Figures for the fourth quarter were bundled in with the full year and showed over the counter amounts wagered rising by11% and machine gross win also up 7%.
Hills also announced a tie up with Inspired Gaming Group for exclusive rights to provide its licensed betting offices (LBOs) with gaming machines. Inspired already supplies Hills with 79% of its total machines and under the agreement they’ll fill the short fall with a deal lasting until 2016. The bookmaker retains the right to switch back to a agreement where they can have two company’s machines at any time.
Fellow traditional bookie Ladbrokes has made its first plunge into the US market by acquiring a 65% stake in Stadium Technology Group. The Vegas-based supplier surrendered the stake in exchange for $3m with the remaining 35% available to buy over the next five years on a performance related basis. Stadium supplies software and in game betting apps to sportsbooks in Nevada and Delaware with a number of reputable casinos on its order list.
Ladbrokes Chief Executive Richard Glynn commented: “The size of the US market and potential for positive regulatory change in the coming years make it a sensible place to establish a presence. Stadium Technology is already one of the key software suppliers to casinos in Nevada and Delaware and it has the potential to expand.”
It could be a very long-term decision indeed. Sports betting, thanks to opposition in the first instance from sports leagues, won’t see legalization in our lifetime and the roll out of intrastate gaming will take a bit of time yet as well. Gaining a foothold in the market is a good move for any gaming industry firm.