William Hill plans cost cuts to offset new tax regime
- March 20th, 2014
Bookmaker William Hill said today it planned to cut costs by up to £20m in 2015 to offset the impact of a new tax regime for online gambling.
William Hill said it was well placed to take advantage of what it called a "market changing" event when the planned tax change in the UK takes effect in December.
The comments came as William Hill reported operating profit of £335m in 2013, an increase of 3% on the same time the previous year.
Revenue for the year rose 18% to £1.49 billion of which net retail revenue accounted for £907m, up 10%, and online revenue rose 12% to £446m.
Online gambling companies are jostling for customers as the industry faces a shake-up over government plans to close a loophole that has allowed businesses to base their online activities offshore to cut their tax bills.
"While it will lead to a significant additional cost for the group, we do believe there is potential for larger scale operators to benefit from increased market share as smaller operators may be squeezed out of the market by the additional tax burden," the company said.
Friday 28 February 2014 09.15
Online boost for William Hill
- March 20th, 2014
Bookmaker William Hill cheered a "sparkling" performance from its burgeoning online business as punters increasingly took to betting on smartphones and tablet computers.
Surging use of smartphones and tablets for betting ensured another robust annual performance for bookmaker William Hill.
The UK's biggest bookie said mobile gaming net revenue leapt 175% higher last year on a 52-week basis, helping overall online sales rise 12% to £446.3 million.
William Hill, which is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year, said mobile gaming represented 39% of all wagering in 2013.
Ralph Topping, chief executive of William Hill, said: "Online's sportsbook performance continues to be sparkling, with staking levels up around 400% over the five years since the start of 2009."
Its chain of more than 2,400 betting shops also saw resilient trading, with revenues up 10% thanks in part to the increasing popularity of controversial fixed odds betting machines, which saw revenues rise by a fifth.
William Hill expanded its gaming machine estate by 3% to more than 9,400 over the year, but there have been increasing calls for the use of the machines - dubbed the "crack cocaine of gambling" - to be banned or limited.
A new code of conduct was announced by the Association of British Bookmakers today allowing gamblers to set limits on the amount of time and money they spend on gaming machines, as well as introducing mandatory alerts when a customer has spent £250 or played for 30 minutes.
Over the counter betting was also resilient for W illiam Hill over the year, rising by 2% thanks to favourable horseracing and football results for the group, although retail earnings dropped 7% to £196.3 million on a 52-week basis after a hit from the introduction of machine games duty.
Overall earnings rose 3% to £335 million in 2013, but bottom line profits fell 6% to £257 million after a number of one-off impacts, such as the cost of buying Sportingbet's Australian business last March.
Its results came in stark contrast to rival Ladbrokes, which posted a 66% slump in profits earlier this week as its online capability trailed behind.
William Hill said trading since the year-end had seen an improvement following he fty losses on football results in January after the top seven Premier League football teams all secured victories.
The group warned last month of a loss of around £13 million from the Premier League wins and said today that results had continued to go against the group over the rest of the month, but were "more positive" in February.
Amounts wagered have risen 4% across its betting shops so far this year and have soared by 46% online.
Shares in the group rose 3% after the results, with the market also reassured as William Hill outlined plans to offset the introduction of a new tax regime for online gambling in December.
It said it was a "market-changing event", but aims to mitigate the impact by slashing costs by between £15 million and £20 million.
The group will make the savings largely by cutting marketing spend next year.
Playtech launches its live offering with Ladbrokes Across all platforms
- March 18th, 2014
Featuring the largest private area Playtech has created to date, Ladbrokes will provide their players with an exclusively branded Live area.
Playtech has announced the launch of its Live Games for one of the industry’s leading brands, Ladbrokes. The launch will enable Ladbrokes to distribute all of Playtech's Live Games, across all platforms including desktop and mobile, and will feature both HTML5 and native versions for iOS and Android devices.
Developed with industry leading broadcasting technology, all of Playtech's Live Games are created with the highest video quality. Players enjoy an identical quality to that provided on desktop devices, offering players a live gaming experience which is second to none.
Featuring the largest private area Playtech has created to date, Ladbrokes will provide their players with an exclusively branded Live area. Taking Live Games to the next level, players will also be able to join live game tables via the lobby stream with just one click. The fully dedicated area appeals to high rollers and novice players alike and offers Ladbrokes the opportunity to leverage their presence and positioning with branded and customised content to deliver an improved player experience.
The new Multi-Game interface launched is designed to maximise player value, which will allow Ladbrokes' players to play any three games simultaneously via a single window where the games or game tables can be easily swapped using a user friendly interface. The mobile native version also contains a unique lobby stream where players can tap any table to join.
Aviv Nankin, Playtech's Head of Live Games, commented, "We are very excited to launch our Live offering with Ladbrokes. With its branded clickable private area live stream and full support for all mobile devices, I am certain Ladbrokes will see the positive results of this launch in no time. Our product definitely represents the next generation of Live Games and we are excited to launch this new advanced live casino solution with one of the leading brands in our industry."
Betfair revenues boosted by sportsbook growth in Q1
- March 18th, 2014
Online gambling company Betfair has cited the growth of its sportsbook business as the main reason for a year-on-year jump in revenue during the three months to January 31, 2014.
The firm posted revenue of £95.4 million (€116.1 million/$159.5 million) for the first quarter, a 5% increase on the £90.5 million recorded in the corresponding period last year.
Underlying EBITDA also grew 28% from £15.8 million in the first quarter of 2013 to £20.2 million in the most recent quarter.
Betfair put the increases down to a 27% jump in sportsbook revenue, which grew from £7.5 million in Q1 of 2013 to £9.5 million in the first quarter of 2014.
The firm said that the growth in sportsbook revenue was due to a 68% increase in mobile revenue, which now represents 60% of its total sportsbook revenue.
The company also recorded slight increases in revenue for both its exchange and gaming operations.
Breon Corcoran, chief executive officer of Betfair, said: “Betfair had a good quarter against all key metrics, with growth in customer numbers, revenues and profits.
“We are now competing more aggressively and are investing heavily in customer marketing and product development.
“I am excited to report that we have now integrated our exchange and sportsbook, allowing the odds on certain sportsbook bets to be boosted by leveraging the superior value available on the Exchange.
“As this is rolled out across more markets, sportsbook customers will enjoy a better betting experience and exchange liquidity will be further strengthened."
6 March 2014
Betfred to sponsor Grand National Festival
- March 18th, 2014
UK bookmaker Betfred has agreed to become a sponsor of the Grand National Festival UK horseracing event.
The three-year deal will run from 2014 through to 2017, according to The Drum website.
Betfred will sponsor three races at the Festival, which is held at Aintree Racecourse on an annual basis.
The races included in the deal comprise the Betfred Bowl Steeple Chase on opening day, the Betfred Mobile Mildmay Novices’ Steeple Chase on Ladies Day and the Betfred TV Handicap Steeple Chase on Grand National Day.
John Baker, Aintree and north-west regional director for Jockey Club Racecourses, said: “We have a fantastic relationship with Betfred and are thrilled they have agreed to join us for one of the most famous sporting events in the world.”
The 2014 Grand National Festival will take place at Aintree Racecourse from April 3-5.
5 March 2014
APPGG aims to restore Betfair’s Fund payments
- March 18th, 2014
BGRF chairman Tom Kelly was the invited guest at Westminster at a meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Greyhound Group (APPGG) on Tuesday.
Kelly, who is also chairman of Bags, reported to the gathering of MPs that the Fund had suffered an £800,000 hit as a result of the decision of Betfair to discontinue its contributions, undermining its ability to support greyhound welfare, especially the rehoming of retired dogs.
The APPGG agreed to use its best endeavours to find a way of restoring Betfair's contribution to the industry. A small group headed by the committee's chair Andrew Rosindell, and consisting also of greyhound owner and MP Ian Lavery and past chair of the British Greyhound Racing Board Lord Lipsey, was set up to pursue the matter.
Rosindell, MP for Romford, said: "Full and frank discussions with Mr Kelly were extremely useful and members agreed to explore all opportunities to support the sport moving forward.
"The APPGG was formed to promote the best interests of the sport and greyhounds by members who are passionate about racing and will continue to do that."
Lavery, the secretary to the APPGG, also paid tribute to Lord Bilston [Dennis Turner], who died earlier this week, aged 71.
A veteran Labour politician, Turner had been the local MP for Monmore (1987-2005) and was a regular at the track. After being ennobled he became joint co-chairman of the APPGG.
Lavery said: "Dennis was a great advocate for the sport. He owned greyhounds and ran them mainly at Monmore. I for one will miss his passion, commitment and in the main his friendly character. The sport has lost a formidable friend."
John Prescott described him as "a true working class fighter for social justice and a passionate Black Country advocate."
By Jim Cremin 11:13AM 28 FEB 2014
Sportech reports solid annual performance
- March 18th, 2014
Sportech CEO Ian Penrose said: “The Group has delivered a good set of results in a transformational year. We have strengthened the management team and Board."
(UK).- The London listed online sports betting group Sportech released its full year results for the period ended December 31 2013, reporting good progress on its strategic goals, with growing momentum in its US enterprise. “We remain well positioned for future growth in the US market and cash flows from our Football Pools business,” Sportech CEO Ian Penrose said.
Financial highlights in the report include:
* Revenue up at GBP 110.3 million (FY 2012: GBP 107.7m)
* EBITDA increased to GBP 26 million (FY 2012: GBP 25.2 million)
* Sportech Racing and Digital up 40 percent; Sportech Venues up 2 percent, but Football Pools down 7 percent
* Adjusted profit before tax of GBP 14.5 million (FY 2012: GBP 14.9 million)
* Statutory profit before tax of GBP 5.2 million (FY 2012: GBP 1.3 million)
* Net bank debt up at GBP 63.4 million (FY 2012: GBP 57.1 million)
* Capital investment and acquisition spend of GBP 22 million during the year
* First-tier Tribunal found in favour of Sportech in respect of GBP 95 million VAT claim in March 2013. However, HMRC has appealed to Upper Tribunal and the case will be heard on 29 and 30 April 2014.
Operational highlights included:
* The disposal of the loss-making UK e-Gaming business, allowing the company to refocused management and finalise a new divisional structure.
* Sportech Racing and Digital – major contracts secured and digital products successfully brought to market, including:
New contracts signed with major gaming businesses in the US, Denmark and UK
New mobile and online products launched
European operations strengthened through the acquisition of Data Tote
Integration of eBet complete with synergies realised
Formed joint ventures with NYX and Picklive to supply online gaming and fantasy sports games
* The company reports that Sportech Venues is well positioned for growth as a multi-platform operator which has:
Opened flagship sports bar, restaurant and betting venue in Bradley, Connecticut
Launched exclusive online horserace betting platform for Connecticut customers
Signed development agreement to roll-out an estate of branded sports bars and betting venues in California
* Football Pools lagged, but there has been continued progress in migration to a new platform and:
There has been an increase in spend per head, partially offsetting forecast player number decline
Successful new player recruitment through direct marketing offset by overall player decline
Sportech CEO Ian Penrose said: “The Group has delivered a good set of results in a transformational year. We have strengthened the management team and Board, invested cash of GBP 22 million in the Group and completed a number of corporate transactions to increase our focus and operational capabilities.
“Our US-based businesses now account for 60 percent of Group revenues, and we are particularly pleased with their strong profit growth, driven primarily by the technological investment in our core Racing and Digital business.”
“Since the turn of the year, we have launched Connecticut’s only legal website for betting on horseracing and augmented our retail estate by opening a 10,000 sq ft innovative sports bar and betting venue in Connecticut. The first in a chain of similar venues is to be opened in California later this year.”
“We remain well positioned for future growth in the US market and, with the strong cash flows from our Football Pools business, we have entered 2014 with confidence.”
Ladbrokes deal for Williams
- March 13th, 2014
Williams Interactive and Ladbrokes have agreed a multi-year deal that will see the full Williams Interactive portfolio of online slots made available at Ladbrokes.com later this year.
Through integration with the Williams Interactive Remote Game Server, Ladbrokes.com players will have access to a library of Vegas-style slots such as Zeus III.
Richard Poole, head of product for Ladbrokes Digital, said: “The expanded access to themes already popular in our betting shops, including the fan-favourite Rainbow Riches, is an exciting opportunity to extend enjoyment of those themes for our players online and on their mobile devices.”
Jordan Levin, managing director for Williams Interactive, added: “Expanding the reach of our deep catalogue of unique and innovative slot themes and game engines with one of the UK’s leading betting and gaming enterprises is another exciting step.
“We believe that Ladbrokes players, who already enjoy our themes from our portfolio in Ladbrokes retail locations, will enjoy the ‘omni-channel’ access this relationship provides.
March 7, 2014 by Stewart Darkin
LADBROKES APPOINT NEW TRADING DIRECTOR
- September 27th, 2012
).- Ladbrokes confirmed the appointment of Andy Wright as Trading Director, who will join the firm from Betclic Everest Group where he was Sportsbook Director, having previously been Group Trading Director.
“We have already made significant progress in delivering our trading improvements and Andy will help take us to the next stage,” Richard Glynn, Ladbrokes CEO, said.
Prior to working for Betclic Wright was Managing Director of Stan James where he was responsible for introducing automated trading technologies. He will assume responsibility for driving Ladbrokes ongoing trading improvement programme which has seen Ladbrokes significantly increase the range of markets available to customers using automated pricing and technology feeds as well as improving its trading capabilities through the extensive adoption of algorithmic solutions. He will report directly to Richard Glynn, CEO.
Joining Andy Wright at Ladbrokes is Tony Robinson, who has been appointed Trading Strategy Director. Robinson was founder of odds-comparison service OddsChecker before launching his own trading technology firm Heron Solutions and he has many years of experience across a number of leading betting companies. In addition to recruiting Tony, Ladbrokes has signed an agreement to work with Heron Solutions to deliver trading technology innovations, thus bolstering its capabilities further. These developments continue Ladbrokes' strategy of taking ownership of sportsbook technology and intellectual protocol.
Richard Glynn, Ladbrokes CEO, said: "We’re pleased to welcome someone with Andy's extensive online experience. We have already made significant progress in delivering our trading improvements and Andy will help take us to the next stage. In doing so he will be ably assisted by Tony Robinson, with whom he has worked in the past, and a new dedicated trading solutions team who will be tasked with constantly developing innovative trading solutions and implementing them swiftly."
Commenting on the appointment new Trading Director, Andy Wright said: "Ladbrokes has made good progress in its reinvigoration programme and I’m looking forward to working with the trading team to further improve Ladbrokes competitive position."
Betdaq Expands Horseracing Sponsorship
- February 24th, 2012
Betdaq, a European online betting exchange, has agreed an expanded sponsorship deal for 2012 with Jockey Club Racecourses, the largest racecourse group in Britain by courses, fixtures, attendances, prize-money contributions and revenues.
The six-figure deal involves 10 of the group’s 14 racecourses and includes a second year of support for midweek Flat racing at Kempton Park. The Betdaq Wednesday Winner Series at Europe’s premier all-weather floodlit racetrack lasts for 39 meetings, each featuring four Betdaq races. It began this month and concludes on Wednesday 19 December.
Included in the deal is a GBP 5,000 prize for the stable staff of the most successful trainer from the 156 races.
Aintree’s evening fixture in May will be sponsored by Betdaq, while the betting exchange’s support for Haydock Park’s Apprentice Series between May and September, won by Ryan Clark in 2011, continues for a second year.
The betting company’s sponsorship banners will also be displayed at seven other tracks belonging to Jockey Club Racecourses – Carlisle, Exeter, Huntingdon, Market Rasen, Nottingham, Warwick and Wincanton.
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