Withdrawl from market
William Hill PLC (“William Hill”) today announces that William Hill Online will no longer make its products available to customers located in Greece until such time that there is greater clarity on the regulatory approach to be taken by the Greek authorities in relation to such customers.
On 5 November 2012, the Greek Gaming Commission issued a Decision that includes provisions for financial penalties and criminal sanctions against gaming operators that continue to operate in the market beyond 5 December without a locally issued permit. William Hill believes that there are significant issues with the legality and enforceability of these proposals; however, until greater clarity is received, we have taken the decision to withdraw from this market.
According to our legal advice, we consider the gambling legislation in Greece to be inconsistent with European law and the associated fiscal conditions attached to these permits - which may include payment of retrospective taxes on past revenues - makes the market economically unattractive. On this basis, William Hill Online does not currently intend to apply for a licence to operate in Greece.
William Hill, along with other operators, has been working with various parties to achieve legislation that allows fair competition in the market in Greece and elsewhere. It is disappointing that the European Commission continues, despite previously stated intentions to the contrary, not to take effective action to prevent protectionist behaviour on behalf of member states, of which the Greek, German and Belgian regimes are only the most recent examples.
Prior to the decision to withdraw from Greece, William Hill had been expecting to generate £4-5 million of operating profit from Greek-based customers on an annual basis.
|William Hill PLC
Ralph Topping, Chief Executive
Neil Cooper, Group Finance Director
Lyndsay Wright, Director of IR
|+44 (0)20 8918 3614|
Simon Sporborg / Sophie Brand / Oliver Hughes
|+44 (0)20 7404 5959|