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Betting apps on the rise, William Hill profits decline

William Hill profits mobile betting

BETTING via apps is continuing to grow with digital wagering accounting for more than two-thirds of wagering turnover.

According to investment bank UBS, more punters have opted to place a bet using their smartphone or tablet, instead of heading into a retail outlet.

UBS analyst Matt Ryan revealed the Apple and Android apps have negatively impacted retail wagering turnover, with the latter declining six percent in the first half of 2017.

The bank has estimated that digital revenue, on the other hand, increased by 23 percent in the first six months of the year.

Ryan said for the first time digital wagering accounts for more than two-thirds of wagering revenue.

Although digital wagering is up, corporate bookmaker William Hill has recorded plunging profits in the first six months of 2017.

The Australian branch of the UK-based bookmaker reported an 85 percent drop in profits to just $1.1 million in the first six months of 2017 compared to the same time last year.

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What’s more, its performance could be further impacted by the impending regulatory changes expected to be enforced within the coming months.

William Hill said in a market statement that an end to credit betting under the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2016 will hit the business hard. The company accounts 30 percent of amounts wagered in Australia to punters betting on credit.

“If the IGA Amendment were passed into law with this new proposal, companies currently offering credit would be given a six-month transition period to wind down their credit betting activities,” the statement from William Hill said.

“We are focused on ways to mitigate the effect of this change through alternative funding methods.”

William Hill took a hit when the controversial “click to call” in-play online phone betting option was banned last year.

The betting site has been guided by Australian gambling identity, Tom Waterhouse since William Hill acquired his own betting company in 2013.

William Hill has also spent a lot of money on marketing and promotions like free bets and splurged on a multi-million-dollar deal for exclusive digital vision rights to New South Wales horse racing.
But the Northern Territory licensed bookmaker remains optimistic.

“We expect performance to improve, benefiting from the additional content and product innovations we launched in the first half,” William Hill added in the statement.

“In the second half, we are also launching new products that gamify the betting experience and increase the frequency of betting opportunities.”

The company also believes the William Hill Rewards program, which offers redeemable bonus bets and Velocity frequent flyer points, as well as its betting odds service Price Pump, will improve results in the future.

William Hill has still contributed to rising popularity of digital wagering, however.

The UBS bank revealed William Hill, Sportsbet, Bet365, and Ladbrokes accounted for 64 percent of betting apps downloads in the fourth quarter of FY17.

“This supports the notion that while app download share has fluctuated between the operators, total international bookmaker download share has remained relatively stable over the past few years,” Ryan said.

Sportsbet has the highest share of app downloads, recording 33 percent of the market.