William Hill’s CEO talked up the potential of the US sports betting market in the company’s 2017 earnings report, while also saying revenue from its current US operations was up significantly.
The US sports betting market
William Hill reported net revenue in the US increased 29 percent from the previous year. The UK-based sportsbook operator is currently in the Nevada sports betting market and provides risk management for the Delaware sports lottery. Total revenue across the UK and US was up seven percent YoY.
The company also indicated that it was “investing in readiness” for a world in which sports betting expands in the US. That would come if the US Supreme Court strikes down the federal single-game wagering ban — PASPA — in the New Jersey sports betting case.
More than the current market, the prospective market is what excites William Hill, and others in the sports betting space.
William Hill CEO talks sports betting
Here are the remarks from CEO Philip Bowcock on the potential US market:
“William Hill begins 2018 in a stronger position after a year of significant change for the business. … We are a leader in sports betting in the US and are well positioned to benefit should more states start to regulate if the pending Supreme Court decision is positive.
“Looking ahead, we will invest in more innovation in Online and our omni-channel platform, as well as in the US to ensure we can unlock its full potential at the right moment. A key pillar of our strategy moving forward will be to act in a sustainable way. While it is imperative that the gambling sector as a whole embraces this, there is no doubt that leading brands like William Hill must play a key role in setting the right standards and taking greater account of all our stakeholders. In the months ahead we will be taking a number of steps as a matter of urgency to ensure that we embed this approach in our business for the long term.”
Bowcock’s comments come after MGM CEO Jim Murren said this week that the Supreme Court would likely say that PASPA is unconstitutional.
How is William Hill getting ready?
It’s certainly ready to go in New Jersey if the state wins its case.
William Hill is already partnered with Monmouth Park to offer sports wagering. The sports bar at the horse racing track carries William Hill’s name currently.
And as a variety of states consider sports betting legislation, it’s likely eyeing entry points. Pennsylvania legalized sports betting last year with a change in federal law. But nothing has happened (publicly) yet in the implementation of the PA sports betting industry.
Not all good news for WH
William Hill was also got some bad news this week. The UK Gambling Commission fined the bookmaker £6.2 million due to a “systemic senior management failure to protect consumers and prevent money laundering.”
A Gambling Commission investigation revealed that between November 2014 and August 2016 the gambling business breached anti-money laundering and social responsibility regulations.
Senior management failed to mitigate risks and have sufficient numbers of staff to ensure their anti-money laundering and social responsibility processes were effective. This resulted in ten customers being allowed to deposit large sums of money linked to criminal offences which resulted in gains for WHG of around £1.2m. WHG did not adequately seek information about the source of their funds or establish whether they were problem gamblers.