William Hill Plc have this morning released their financial results for year ending 1st January 2019 ( 2018 Full year Results ) and it certainly does not make good reading for shareholders or employees of the group. With Hill’s showing a loss of £720m for the year, compared to a profit of £147m for the previous year.
Whilst the betting giant has posted an increase of revenue to £1.62bn, a decent rise of 2% on the previous year, the loss made by the group is likely to be a shock to everyone involved with the company.
However, the company has explained away the loss as a result of the soon to be made changes to Fixed Odds Betting Terminals, which are in situ in all of the company’s shops up and down the country. With a new £2 maximum stake limit set to be implemented on 1st April this year, as a result of new legislation coming into force.
Hills have said that an exceptional charge of some £883m has been placed on the books as a result of the UK government’s decision to reduce the maximum stake for FOBT’s to £2. With this exceptional charge being responsible for seeing Hills post such a big loss.
What will be interesting is to see how not only Hills, but also their high street rivals go about recouping their losses as a result of the new FOBT maximum limit. With bookmakers already publicly stating that shop closures will occur. Another aspect, is to see which other channels of operating costs could be affected, with the affiliate marketing arms of bookmakers, possibly being identified as part of a cost cutting exercise.
Commenting on the results, Philip Bowcock, the chief executive of William Hill said: “2018 had been a busy and decisive year. We know the next few years will require careful navigating and investment, but with a clear strategy and diverse, experienced leadership teams in place we are ready to capitalise on the opportunities available to us.”