William Hill, the leading UK sports betting, casino and poker giant, announced its third quarter results this week. Among the numbers released by Will Hill included its poker revenue, which saw a dip of 24% compared to the same time period last year. William Hill Poker operates off Playtech’s iPoker network, which showed similar falls in revenue in its own third quarter report earlier this month. The drop in poker revenues did not reflect William Hill’s overall report, however, with these numbers offset by an increase of 9% in net revenues and operating profits increasing 26%.
One of the main factors which affected William Hill’s online poker arm was the change in legislation in at least two European countries. The group was forced to withdraw from the German sports betting market after the country imposed a hefty 5% tax on each wager placed at online gambling sites, making operations in Germany virtually unprofitable. In addition, William Hill also has to face blacklist status by the Belgium gambling authorities as it does not qualify for a gambling license in that country and can therefore not offer its products to local gamblers.
William Hill Upbeat About Future
Despite the poor performance of William Hill’s online poker platform, the group does not seem unduly concerned and remains quite upbeat about future prospects. The William Hill Online platform, which the group operates together with Playtech, is doing exceptionally well and saw revenues climb 42% to £34.8 million. William Hill is now in the process of exercising its contractual right to buy out Playtech’s share of the venture and William Hill Online’s value is being assessed by experts on both sides.
William Hill is also deeply involved in negotiations to purchase, together with GVC Holdings, the giant UK gambling group, Sportingbet, which has a strong foothold in the Australian gambling market. William Hill will acquire Sportingbet’s markets in all regulated markets, while GVC will operate in the unregulated markets. William Hill and Sportingbet recently extended the deadline which required Will Hill to make a formal offer for the company, as it waits for the results of a final evaluation report.