William Hill to Close 109 Betting Shops

The first quarter results are in for William Hill and the trend is not in any way positive, as the number shows that the bookie relies on revenues from gaming machines and online punters. But with a tax increase on the fixed odds gaming machines, William Hill now have to close around 109 betting shops, as they simply cannot profit, putting 420 jobs at risk.

“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,” CEO of William Hill, Ralph Topping said.

Fixed odds gaming machines are well known as the “crack cocaine” of gambling, as it appeals to the worst addicts and is also the type of machine that most “newbie’s” gets addicted to. New betting shops opening up are dependent on the revenue from these to survive and with the new tax increase it will be more difficult than ever to profit from them.

William Hill had a 3% year-on-year increase in sports betting net revenue, while the online rose 39% year-on-year. The overall net revenue for the betting shops were down 2% year-on-year, with an 11% decline in over-the-counter bets, which was almost evened out by an 11% increase in gaming machine revenues.

Revenues from Australia however went up 359%, which is a massive increase. Topping explains “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,” 

Week 2 and 12 were horrible days for any bookmaker in the industry, as all the favorites won their games and thus most players won money. Many local bookies had only just bounced back from the week 2 loss, when week 12 stroke and put them back once again.

“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,” Topping ended. 

Daniel Allermand

Daniel Allermand is a freelance writer, with more than 4 years of experience in the industry as an operator, affiliate and poker player. Daniel has decided it was time to try and bring more coverage about the industry to the general public by writing articles about everything from poker to casino.  

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