Mobile growth points to US recovery in William Hill Q3 trading update

William Hill PLC has issued a Q3 trading update for the unaudited 13 week period to 29 September 2020, highlighting strong mobile growth and a sustained recovery in the US sports betting sector.

Currently the subject of a takeover by Caesars Entertainment, the bookmaker cited robust group-wide performance due to the return of live sport and a reopening of its retail estate. US performance, it noted, is expected to grow by 10% during Q3 following a ‘strong’ growth in wagers, 72% of which were placed through mobile channels.

CEO Ulrik Bengtsson commented: “We are very pleased with the trading performance of the group, which has been borne out of the commitment, resilience and hard work of our teams across the business. I could not be prouder of them.

“We have moved the company forward with our relentless focus on our customers, enhancing the competitiveness of our product, and maintaining player safety as one of our highest priorities. We have reinvigorated the leadership team and they, in turn, have empowered their teams to deliver on our plans.”

Addressing its performance stateside, the firm revealed that sports content and the in-person retail experience were slower to resume, with MLB, NBA and NHL only recommencing their 2020 seasons late in July.

It added: “We are now live in 14 states, having opened in Colorado, Illinois, Michigan and Washington DC during Q3 and Pennsylvania during October. Wagering growth was strong, taking 72% of handle through mobile channels.

“We were pleased to extend our media and digital presence to include ESPN through a multi-year co-exclusive agreement signed by our partner, Caesars Entertainment. In combination with the exclusive deal signed with CBS in February, William Hill US now has access to two of the top sports media brands in North America.

“We also completed the acquisition of Cantor sports books and commenced the integration of Caesar’s In-Person retail sports books. Following the full integration of the Caesars’ sports books, we will operate more than 170 venues across 15 states, of which the majority will have a mobile William Hill presence.”

William Hill also warned that while the live sporting calendar has resumed, delivering a strong complement of fixtures across football, horse racing, tennis and American sports, fixture lists remain out of step with prior years. And with many events continuing to be held behind closed doors, results have been more unpredictable than normal. “As a result, we continue to see volatile gross win margins, and we would expect this situation to continue,” it advised.

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