Good News For a Change At William Hill

William Hill received some good news for a change. Recently the British bookmaker and online bingo games operator was hit by wildcat strikes at its offices in Tel Aviv, Bulgaria and Manila, Philippines. On October 31st the gaming giant released its third quarter figures that showed a 2% growth in revenues for the 13 weeks prior to the 27th of September. William Hill’s Q 3 figures were boosted by a 28% growth in online net revenues. The gain helped to offset flat figures from Hill’s retail division which posted a 3% decline in the third quarter.

William Hill’s group operating profit was down 22% and 3% year on year. CEO Ralph Topping said the decline was the result of last year’s football World Cup results and “the planned significant increase in online investment.” The company was adversely affected by the high margin at the World Cup games. Topping also stated ‘We have delivered a solid performance in Q3, in spite of a highly competitive market place and a tough consumer environment. We continue to invest in product, pricing and innovation, bringing customers the best high street and online betting and gaming experience.”

The most encouraging figures came from William Hill Online which posted gains of 28%. The results included a 14% increase in online poker revenues, an impressive 41% in online casino operations and a 9% online bingo increase. Last July William Hill launched its operations in Italy. Topping said that the results in Italy exceeded expectations. Topping stated “Internationally, the initial performance of William Hill Online’s new Italian casino website is beating expectations having taken around 8 to 9% market share and we are the most successful of the non-domestic new entrants.” Nick Batram, an analyst at Peel Hunt said “Profit is down because of investment not because people aren’t betting. Online clearly has good momentum and retail is holding up better than people feared.”

Topping sees a very bright future ahead for the William Hill brand. Topping told reporters “With our leading brand, strong technology, differentiated products and understanding of our consumer, we have a unique opportunity right now to invest to take market share. In the UK, we will be trialing second-generation Storm gaming machines, new self-service betting terminals and high-definition video walls in the shops before the end of the year. Across Europe, we are now investing in a highly focused way in key territories such as Italy and Spain for the long-term benefit of the business.”

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