When British bookmaker William Hill first entered the U.S. sports betting market at full speed back in 2019, the announcement was hailed a perfect victory over a raging U.K. regulatory storm. Success was however apparently not destined to last very long, and by no fault of the operator. Unprecedented market conditions have since seen the bookmaking giant’s U.S. earnings plummet by an unbelievable 90%, and this all within a matter of only weeks, a spokesperson for the bookie confirmed during a recent Friday morning earnings call.
The main trouble driving revenue into the ground appears to be mass global cancellations of sports events – cancellations that have not only stoked gale-force headwinds in the U.S., but also the world over. So much so that global operations during the period March 11 to April 28, crashed by a shocking 57%, not to mention the total spend wagered on sport now 70% down across the entire board.
All of this certainly puts a damper on the several significant inroads made into various U.S. states ever since the landmark abolishment of the federal ban on sports betting by the U.S. Supreme Court back in 2018. The bookie has since the ruling established a strong presence in Indiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, Delaware, Rhode Island, New Mexico and West Virginia.
Not As Bad As Anticipated
But, said William Hill chief executive officer Ulrik Bengtsson at the time of the disappointing earnings and performance call, the situation could have been worse – much worse. Bengtsson spoke of the drop in earnings caused by a significantly lower revenue volume across the board having been way less severe than what William Hill had initially anticipated, and even officially predicted.
And the reason for this isn’t exactly what one would expect it to be. Customers, it now seems, have been making do with the disastrous situation by embracing unexpected by-roads such as betting on sports like Ukrainian table tennis, being an example of some of the few sports still occurring in regulated markets. Belarusian soccer’s refusal to adhere to the illness causing the global slump; a refusal driven mainly by a president now regarded as a proverbial loose political cannon; has suddenly become the “next best thing” to betting on the English Premier League or NBA.
William Hill Is Rearing To Go
Bengtsson also declared the bookie ready and able to perform a rapid “power up” once elite sports leagues around the globe do get around to resuming normal levels of operations. The bookie had apparently made the most of the crisis-induced down-times by having focused intensely on what its CEO described as “accelerated” product developments in the United States. Not to mention that the resumption of Germany’s Bundesliga, along with France’s horse racing scene, has provided an encouraging boost overall.
William Hill’s better-than-expected levels of liquidity are the direct result of a quick and immediate reaction to the global cancellation of sports activities, said Bengtsson. Saving grace too was the fact that the bookie wasted absolutely no time implementing crisis-state measures with the aim of saving costs, limiting the out-bound flow of cash resources and placing an immediate hiatus on all remuneration rises and chief executive bonuses and cash incentives.
Hope For U.K. Yet
But, added Bengtsson, the U.K. isn’t completely lost to the famous bookmaker. William Hill does in fact plan on launching a staggered re-opening of its 2,000 retail betting shops and outlets scattered all over the country. The U.K. government at the end of March ordered all gambling venues and betting outlets to shut down shop in an attempt to protect the NHS from collapse.