British high street bookmaker William Hill has said that its revenues have fallen by more than half due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
With little in the way of live sports to bet on anywhere in the world since mid-March, William Hill – the UK’s forth-largest bookmaker by revenue – has seen turnover take a nosedive by 57 per cent in the seven weeks to April 28. With high-street betting for the period at zero, online betting revenues were also down by a fifth.
William Hill has said it expects to miss out on core earnings of up to £15m (€16.8m/$18.2m) for each month its shops are closed – though this is half the company’s initial estimate. Earlier this year, the company warned of an impact of £110m on its core earnings for 2020, assuming its shops would be closed for a month and live sport suspended until August.
It has managed to cut costs by utilising the British government’s furlough scheme, cutting marketing spending and cancelling salary rises for staff.
On March 16, the day the UK government announced the start of lockdown conditions, William Hill’s share price fell by 34 per cent, reaching a low of £0.36. It has since recovered, currently standing at £1.15 per share, but is still significantly down on its year-high of £1.96 in February.
The firm is now looking to the return of Germany’s Bundesliga, which kicks off tomorrow (Saturday May 16), and of horse racing in the UK, potentially in June, to boost its revenues in the coming weeks and months. Should the Bundesliga’s return prove successful, it may pave the way for Premier League action to begin again in the UK.
Similarly, Royal Ascot has announced plans to go ahead behind closed doors in June, opening up another significant revenue stream for William Hill and other bookmakers. The cancellation of the Grand National earlier this year led to not only the loss of £400m in revenues, but also of a key opportunity for attracting new customers.
William Hill has also outlined a staged plan for re-opening its 2,000 high-street stores over the course of the second half of the year, saying that it is preparing to “power up” its businesses in the UK and the US.