The stakes are high: William Hill announces loss of more than £820m
William Hill, the British bookmaker reveals a £833m loss as shares plummet and blame the substantial loss on the government crackdown on fixed odds betting terminals (FOBT). This comes after being fined £6.2m by the Gambling Commission for failing to protect consumers as well as prevention of money laundering in its online operations. This was due to ten customers being allowed to deposit large sums of money, which were linked to criminal offences – this resulted in £1.2m in gains for William Hill.
The stakes are high
Earlier this year, the government confirmed that the maximum stakes that punters could place on FOBT, would be just £2, instead of £100. Fixed odds betting terminals were branded the ‘crack cocaine’ of the gambling industry and when the announcement was made, William Hill announced that FOBT’s contributed to roughly a fifth of its sales and as a result of this, 900 of its stores would now be at a loss and further warned that some of those shops would most likely close.
Before tax, William Hill lost £819.6m in the six months to June, which was down from a £93.6m profit in the previous year. On the news of the loss, share prices dropped 7% on Friday 10th August.
Founded in 1934, William Hill was among the very first to bring sports betting services to the High Streets of Great Britain. They’ve come a long way since then, with many online gambling platforms; from sports betting to online bingo. William Hill is a trusted and globally renowned company which is listed on the London Stock Exchange.
William Hill have recently signed deals with more than 10 casinos in the US, to deliver a sports betting service to Mississippi and West Virginia.
Philip Bowcock, the chief executive at William Hill commented; “Gambling-related harm is a serious issue and it is important that we face up to this challenge. We have set ourselves the ambition that nobody is harmed by gambling and set out a detailed programme of actions as we start out on this journey.”
Mr Bowcock praised the company’s performance and the opportunities its now facing in the US; “During the first half, our online business continued to deliver double-digit growth. In the US, we have moved quickly following the repeal of PASPA (Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992) as we grow into newly regulating states. We will continue to invest in the US to ensure we are well-placed to capture the substantial potential available to us.”