n the first place, the afore-mentioned acceleration had a negative impact on the level of active players across William Hill’s online business, particularly in its online gaming division. The company noted that the trend is evolving and if it persists, this would result in lower than expected revenue as well as a reduction in full-year online profit by an approximate of £20-25 million.
On the other hand, gross win margin for William Hill’s online business stood at 6.2% for the past two and a half months or 1.9% before the company’s original expectations. This has been mainly due to unfavorable European football results as well as the results from the Cheltenham festival, which were the worst ones for many years now.
Bearing in mind the above-mentioned factors, William Hill said that it now expects to generate full-year operating profit of between £260 million and £280 million. The gambling operator also said in its trading update that it has been in discussions with an unnamed partner that would potentially see it invest in gaming developer OpenBet. William Hill, however, pointed out that the discussions may not eventually result in a transaction taking place.
In January, the gaming company appointed Crispin Nieboer as Interim Managing Director, Online. After joining William Hill, Mr. Nieboer and his team introduced a number of strategic priorities, including a business refocus in a bid for UK customer yields to be maximized, improvement in the operator’s non-core markets, and assessment of cost efficiency opportunities.
In other words, William Hill is determined to focus its attention on the improvement of the account acquisition quality. Yet, the company pointed out that its online division enjoys a strong brand traction and good lifetime values from both long-term and mobile gambling customers.
Commenting on the latest trading update, William Hill CEO James Henderson said that it reflects the effect of the recently introduced regulatory changes as well as unfavorable sports results. The executive further noted that the operator is facing a milder growth in its UK-based customer base due to the acquisition of lower value gambling customers.
Mr. Henderson said that William Hill’s other divisions have performed in line with the company’s expectations in the first months of the year and that they will now turn their attention towards improving their online business in order for the operator to be able to outperform the highly competitive market.