Betting Blog: William Hill Reports Loss In Profits

William Hill reports drop in profits, despite overall increase in online sports betting

From most perspectives, the online sports betting sector has never been in better health.

The mobile revolution has increased the popularity of the sporting wager among everyday fans and reached a new audience, who would be otherwise reluctant or unable to physically visit a high street betting shop.

The ability to place a bet online adds convenience as well as a greater range of sporting events on which to gamble.

It seems surprising, therefore, that one of the best-known players in the industry, William Hill, has recently announced an 11 percent drop in pre-tax profits for the first six months of 2017.

The company has blamed the drop, from £122 million in the first six months of 2016 to £109 million in the same period of this year, on a lack of major football tournaments over the first part of the year.

Online diversification and live casinos

It has not been all bad news for the famous bookmaker, however, as its online betting and casino offerings, which are examined in more detail at, have maintained strong momentum and good returns. This reflects the buoyancy of the overall market, in both the sports betting and online casino spheres.

William Hill is not the only company that has cottoned on to the strong links between these two traditionally separate markets. While the glamour of a casino and the working class roots of the typical betting shop might be worlds apart, it is undeniable that there is a great opportunity for cross selling.

In short, those who like to bet on a horse race or football match might also be tempted to try out roulette or the slots, and vice versa.

The online offering has also brought about an opportunity to offer a richer and wider range of sporting wagers. For one thing, time and geography becomes irrelevant, so gamblers can place a bet on NFL matches in the USA or horse racing in Hong Kong via a simple app.

For another, the immediacy of betting online means that it is now possible to place bets even after a game is underway, bringing a far richer experience for betting enthusiasts.

Are betting shops in decline?

If the online betting and casino industry is in such rude health, is William Hill’s real problem more connected with its own business model?

The company still relies on offline sales through its traditional shops for 55 percent of Group turnover, and this is the area that has seen trouble over recent months.

Cost of sales has risen by two percent, predominantly due to increased staffing costs, while revenue sank by the same percentage to £460 million.

The really interesting thing, however, concerns the amounts being wagered. Online betting amounts rose by an impressive 11 percent online, compared to just two percent in shops.

Similar trends have been seen among the company’s main competitors, Ladbroke and Corals.

However, despite these figures, William Hill is adamant that it will continue to operate with the same blend of shops and online offerings for the foreseeable future.