William Hill furloughed more than half its US staff this week as the sportsbook operator seeks to weather the coronavirus pandemic, sources tell LSR.
The cuts have been made across the entire US business, which previously featured around 1,000 staff members.
The changes are intended to be temporary. The operator aims to bring back as many staff as possible once sports resume.
William Hill hit hard by coronavirus
A source said the level of staff furloughed was high because many of the personnel work in land-based casinos that closed. The firm has more than 100 shops in Nevada, for instance, which are all currently closed by order of the governor.
William Hill US CEO Joe Asher pledged to donate his salary to the newly created William Hill USA Foundation. The organization aims to assist company employees recently furloughed or laid off during the coronavirus pandemic.
UK parent company feeling the pain too
The operator’s UK parent company has seen its share price drop by 65% since mid-February. That’s because 53% of the group’s 2019 revenue came from the sportsbook.
That sportsbook percentage is 100% in the US, where William Hill does not yet run an online casino. It’s understood that there is no immediate plan to fast-track the launch of an online casino product.
The company also recently canceled its dividend, warning that the sports stoppage could cost up to $164 million of EBITDA in 2020.
Other casualties of COVID-19 affected
As part of its cost-cutting efforts, William Hill also froze its affiliate marketing program and cut staff.
Partners received news of the decision in an email. The operator said it would turn the program back on when sports resumed and, in the meantime, would be trying to improve that part of the operation.
Hills had around $125 million of US sports betting revenue in 2019 and expected to break even in 2020, a forecast that now looks nearly impossible to reach.