William Hill reports strong gains in US net revenue in trading update

William Hill PLC has reported significant growth in US net revenue in its latest trading statement for the unaudited 52 weeks ended 29 December 2020. While the group’s total net revenue for the fourth quarter grew 9% year-on-year, US net returns for the full year were ahead by 32% and 121% in Q4.

Updating investors on US activities, the firm said that the growth was driven by strong growth online. It added: “Casinos remained closed or operated with restricted access for long periods and the major US sports leagues rescheduled their seasons in response to the pandemic. As part of our existing joint venture agreement, we absorbed the Caesars In-Person sportsbooks onto the William Hill platform.

“William Hill US went live in five new states and launched mobile in five states, leading to 121% net revenue growth in the fourth quarter. William Hill’s sports betting apps and sports book odds are now featured on both ESPN and CBS Sports, two of America’s leading sports media brands, as a result of agreements entered into during the year.”

Looking at the group as a whole, sportsbook staking increased 16%, driven by enhanced products and geographical expansion, whilst gross win margins benefitted from favorable sporting results, driving group sportsbook net revenue up 20% year-on-year.

2020 has, said William Hill, been an extraordinary year with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on live sport, national and regional lockdowns in its retail business and the effect of trading a smaller retail estate, meaning that total group net revenue for the year decreased by 16% to $1,811m.

CEO Ulrik Bengtsson commented: “2020 was a year like no other. It tested our agility and flexibility and we delivered, keeping our customers and team safe, whilst materially improving our competitive position through product enhancements and geographical expansion. The offer received for the Group (Caesars UK Bidco deal) recognizes the substantial progress we have made as well as the opportunities and challenges ahead of us.

“I remain immensely proud of the William Hill team which has been relentless in its focus on delivering a great product and service to our customers, with player safety at its heart. Customer, team, execution have been our guiding lights through this unusual year, and they will remain so as we look forward through 2021.”

The group’s 2020 final results will be announced on Wednesday, February 24 2021.

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