William Hill online gambling growth fails to offset decline in high street betting

 
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High street wagers at William Hill have not caught up with online growth (Source: Getty)

Pre-tax profits dipped in the first half of the year at gambling operator William Hill, as revenue dropped in the group's retail division.

Read more: More bankrupt gamblers are being banned from doing business

The figures

Pre-tax profits were down seven per cent to £93.5m, though revenue was up three per cent to £837m.

In William Hill betting shops, which account for 55 per cent of group revenue, the cost of sales was up two per cent, primarily due to staffing costs. Revenues sank two per cent to £460.1m.

Meanwhile the online arm, which accounts for 35 per cent of group revenue, saw betting amounts go up 11 per cent compared to just two per cent in shops.

Gaming was the fastest growing segment, as revenue increased 10 per cent to £150.9m.

Shares were up more than 10 per cent this morning.

Read more: William Hill has named its new boss

Why it's interesting

The two per cent increase in retail wagers brought the total to £1.2bn, but punters are placing bets worth twice as much online.

Mobile growth bolstered the digital sector's performance. Most revenue came through mobile channels, with 81 per cent of sportsbook net revenue gained through mobile, up from 70 per cent last year.

The results mirror those of competitor Ladbrokes Coral, which has also seen a decline in betting at its high street shops.

But William Hill said it remained committed to an omni-channel offering for people who bet in store and online. It will launch an "omni wallet" project this year to make it easier for online customers to use their account funds.

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What the company said

"Earlier in the year we targeted £40m of annualised savings as part of our transformation programme and we are on track to deliver this by the year-end," said chief executive Philip Bowcock.

"In addition to these savings, the programme has sparked initiatives to further improve our products and customer experience, accelerate our top-line growth and increase efficiency. We are confident about delivering a good outturn in 2017 and beyond."

Read more: William Hill names a chief financial officer to replace Philip Bowcock

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