High profile UK bookmaker William Hill has released its full results for the year 2019, which show a significant fall in the company’s revenues.
Revenue dropped from £1.6 billion for 2018 to £1.58 billion, representing a 2% decline over the course of what the company described as a ‘transformative’ year. 2019 saw William Hill undertake a major restructure of its core division, in online, retail betting and its US operation.
One of the defining features of the year was the continuing reduction in the size of the company’s retail sector, following the decision of the UK government to reduce the maximum stake on fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) from £100 to £2. As a result, William Hill announced the closure of several hundred retail betting shops, and widespread redundancies. Operating profits fell for the year by 37% to £147 million, although the company was also involved in international diversification, including the acquisition of European betting operator Mr Green.
Speaking about the results, Ulrik Bengtsson, the Group CEO, said that despite the challenges, which included restructuring and regulatory changes, the performance was better than expected:
“2019 was a year of transition during which we executed on our ambition to diversify internationally with the acquisition of Mr Green and the continued strong growth of our US business. The Group delivered a strong operating performance, ahead of our expectations and against a challenging regulatory backdrop.”
Overall, William Hill closed the year with £38 million in statutory losses before tax, which compared favourably with the £720 million losses for 2018, the year in which the operator started its transformation program. According to the company, their assets including Mr Green had been performing satisfactorily and there was a 6% increase in staking on an average weekly basis across its self-service betting machines, offsetting the effect of the FOBT reform.