British sportsbetting giant William Hill has announced that it is conducting a ‘strategic review’ of its Australian business in advance of the start from next month of a ban on operators offering credit.
According to a press release from the London-listed firm published by the Financial Times newspaper on Monday, the assessment was also prompted by the possibility that several states in Australia may soon introduce new point-of-consumption taxes.
“Given the credit betting ban in Australia and the likely introduction of a point-of-consumption tax in a number of states, it is clear that profitability will increasingly come under pressure and, therefore, we are undertaking a strategic review of our Australia business,” read the announcement from William Hill.
William Hill’s revelation came as part of a trading update for the year to December 26 that showed it expects to report an annual adjusted operating profit of around £290 million ($401.3 million), which would represent an increase of approximately 11% when compared with the previous twelve-month period. The London-headquartered operator additionally stated that this swell had been led by ‘good momentum’ from its operations in the United Kingdom and the United States as well as ‘the benefits of the transformation program’ and higher gross win margins.
For the nine weeks since publishing its previous trading update on November 20, William Hill moreover declared that ‘favorable football and horseracing results’ had led to gross win margins from its retail and online businesses exceeding expectations to be ‘significantly ahead’ of where they had been at this stage last year. It further explained this had resulted in ‘very strong’ net revenues for the period despite slowed retail wagering growth rates.
William Hill also proclaimed that it intends to publish its comprehensive financial results for 2017 on Tuesday and divulged that these are expected to show that its business in the United States ‘continued to grow at double-digit rates’ although its concerns in Australia had been negatively impacted by ‘reduced credit betting volumes’.
Looking to the future, Philip Bowcock, Chief Executive Officer for William Hill, declared that he was ‘excited about the opportunities ahead’ due to the prospects attached to the coming 2018 FIFA World Cup and the possibility that the nationwide sportsbetting may be legalized in the United States.