Mixed results for William Hill - Sportsbook strong but weak retail

William Hill has announced growth in key areas, led largely by Sportsbook going from strength to strength, but retail results look weak. (Release)

The betting firm has reported 42 per cent growth in Sportsbook wagers in the 13 weeks ending 1 October, with football Sportsbook wagering up 49 per cent and mobile wagering on Sportsbook up 115 per cent.

Net revenue for mobile gaming went up 126 per cent, with mobile making up 18 per cent of gaming net revenue. Retail football staking increased 27 per cent in the quarter, although the company reported quiet July retail trading.

Moreover, group operating profit was down around £24m (31 per cent) in the period (which is 4 per cent year-to-date). Chief executive Ralph Topping said that there's no certainty that shortfall will be made up by the end of the year.

Growth in William Hill Australia is strong, though, with a £20m acquisition of online betting firm tom Waterhouse extending presence and customer base for the company.

The bookmakers has begun its roll-out of its Eclipse gaming machines into half of shops.

Topping commented on the results:

During this quarter, results were not as favourable as in the comparable period, with outcomes - particularly in football - going the punters' way. Consequently, gross win margins are below the prior year in both major channels, and below normalised expectations in Sportsbook. It is of course important in our business to look through the impact of short-term results on trading.

Additionally, we saw a disappointing Retail performance in July. However, football wagering in Retail has grown in Q3 and the rollout of our new Eclipse gaming machine has begun.