Corporate By William Hill IR

Strong underlying growth but football results impact margins

Key highlights


  • Continued outstanding growth in Online Sportsbook turnover, up 39% with mobile up 78%
  • Gross win margin performance hit by two substantial loss-making weeks driven by football results
  • Strong Online gaming net revenue growth, up 16%, benefiting from 142% growth in mobile
  • Largely completed roll-out of Eclipse gaming machines into half the Retail estate
  • Improving Australia KPIs with unique actives +22%, new accounts +8% and cost per acquisition -11%
  • Strong US performance with wagering +23% and Operating profit4 up 188%
  • Mobile Sportsbook and Casino launched in Italy




Statutory percentage change Q1 2014 vs Q1 2013 1





Group total

Sports betting amounts wagered





Gross win margin





Net revenue3





-        OTC / Sportsbook





-        Machines / Gaming





Operating profit4







Ralph Topping, Chief Executive, commented:


“Our focus on combining a broad and deep product range with outstanding user experiences and scale investment in marketing continues to deliver tangible benefits across the Group: Sportsbook betting continues to grow rapidly, mobile gaming is much improved and we’re seeing positive trends in the key performance indicators for Australia and the US. 

“Whilst the outstanding gross win margin in Q1 2013 sets a very high bar, meaning we are facing tough comparative figures, two substantial loss making weeks in this quarter (weeks 2 and 12) – with major wins for the football punters – impacted profit progression despite good growth in wagering in both Online and Retail and significantly improved gaming performance in both channels.  As ever, it is important to look through short-term sporting results to the underlying strength of the business.  Mobile, for instance, continues to go from strength to strength, increasing to 45% of Online Sportsbook amounts wagered and 27% of Online gaming net revenue in the period.

“We are also progressing successful diversification of the business both online and internationally, including delivering further good growth in Italy, Spain and the US. With most of the major components of the digital Australian platform now in place, we will be driving further improvements in that business’s performance as well.

“As regards UK Retail, we have now successfully implemented the ABB’s voluntary Code for Responsible Gambling and are pleased with the progress to date. However, as a direct result of the Government’s unexpected announcement about an increase in Machine Games Duty to 25%, we have reviewed shop profitability and will be closing a portfolio of 109 shops this year, putting c420 shop employees at risk of redundancy.  This is particularly disappointing as, through the economic downturn, we have worked hard to grow our Retail base but this further planned increase in indirect taxation makes this action necessary.

“Looking ahead to the rest of 2014, it is positive to note Online had recouped much of its shortfall against internal expectations following week 2 before we were hit again in week 12. While there is no guarantee we can make up the difference, we continue to believe the increased customer confidence from such wins should be good for business, especially in this World Cup year. We are very well placed to take advantage of the World Cup opportunity, coming in the second quarter, with an unrivalled football product range, the most downloaded Sportsbook app in the UK and a leading mobile gaming offer for cross-sell.”




 William Hill PLC

Ralph Topping, Chief Executive

Neil Cooper, Group Finance Director

Lyndsay Wright, Director of IR

Tel: +44 (0) 20 8918 3614


Simon Sporborg / Fiona Micallef-Eynaud / Oliver Hughes

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7404 5959


Analyst conference call

Ralph Topping, Chief Executive, and Neil Cooper, Group Finance Director, will be hosting a conference call for analysts at 8.30 a.m. BST. Dial-in details for the call are:


Telephone: +44 (0) 20 3059 8125

Password: William Hill


An archive of the call will be available after the call until Thursday, 8 May. Dial-in details for the archive call are:


Telephone: +44 (0) 121 260 4861

Passcode: 3444982#


An audio webcast of the call will be available at  


Notes to editors

William Hill, The Home of Betting, is one of the world's leading betting and gaming companies, employing more than 17,000 people. Founded in 1934, it is now the UK's largest bookmaker with around 2,430 licensed betting offices that provide betting opportunities on a wide range of sporting and non-sporting events, gaming on machines and numbers-based products including lotteries. The Group’s Online business ( is one of world’s leading online betting and gaming businesses, providing customers with the opportunity to access William Hill's products online, through their smartphone or tablet, by telephone and by text services. William Hill US was established in June 2012 and provides land-based and mobile sports betting services in Nevada, and is the exclusive risk manager for the State of Delaware’s sports lottery. William Hill Australia is one of the largest online betting businesses in Australia after the Group acquired the Sportingbet Australia business in March 2013 and in August 2013, two of the leading online corporate bookmakers in Australia, offering sports betting products online, by telephone and via mobile devices. William Hill PLC is listed on the London Stock Exchange and became part of the FTSE100 in May 2013. The Group generates revenues of c£1.5bn a year.


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