William Hill, one of the UK’s foremost betting firms and online casino operators has recently announced that it will be permanently closing 119 shops and will be focusing primarily on online operations. This was announced after its recent H1 earnings but William Hill insist its employees will be redeployed in other parts of the company.
These permanent closures are directly due to the company’s hampered revenues, which dropped by 32% about £554 million and increased costs as the company faced an £81.9 million pandemic-related impairment charges. Despite these losses, the company is positive regardless of the closures due to its international online growth, which has seen a growth of 17%.
William Hill’s chief executive officer, Ulrik Bengtsson, has commented on this recent announcement saying that essentially, there would be no jobs cuts by the closures as employees will be reallocated to other parts of the business. He also dubbed this decision as a minor pruning to business operations. He also said that Covid has a clear effect on overall business operations and the company is fully aware of that, and has projected a permanent decline of 10-15% to overall business operations. He also expressed his delight with the company’s performance despite these hard times and has also expressed this towards the company’s employees, calling them remarkable as they’ve supported each other and the company’s customers throughout the pandemic, thanking them for their continued efforts.
As with many other businesses and venues, the company has also been forced to close down all its shops in an effort to curb the pandemic’s growth. Public sporting events have also been subject to this, adversely affecting bookies but never the less, the recent resumption of business and sporting events has aided them. The pandemic has also added to the recent closures of 713 shops primarily due to 2019’s Fixed Odds Betting Terminal’s £2 stake limit.
Digital assets, on the other hand, have seen sustained growth of 1% while online international assets have grown by 17%. This growth was attributed to the strong growth in gaming throughout the first half of the year. This was also driven up by the increase of product developments launched late last 2019. This was also attributed to the shift from retail to online and some substitutions from sports betting. In line with these numbers, 39% of the revenue was made outside the UK, compared to 35% during the same H1 time period last year, driven by the company’s full integration with Mr. Green through its acquisition. This acquisition has also made Mr. Green the hub for William Hill’s international activities, conducting all activities from this Malta-based firm. It has also reported that Sweden and its Nordic regions are enjoying strong growth due to the regulatory developments last year while its Denmark revenues have also seen a rise with almost double the net revenue.
With the recent increase in online usage, the company has acknowledged the fact that the UK’s online product market has become increasingly competitive but with its recent retail and online merger, this will be a step towards sustainable value and online growth.