William Hill looks set to up the ante in US expansion

William Hill looks set to up the ante in US expansion

Friday, March 9, 2018 Posted by Joseph Streeter
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The group announced it has reached an agreement to sell its William Hill Australia division to CrownBet for AUS $300 million

A key takeaway from William Hill’s departure of the Australian market was that the group is now looking to place a key focus on growing its footprint in the US market.

William Hill’s efforts to crack the Australian market first commenced in 2013, however following on from a recent change to the law that now outlaws credit betting in Australia, the operator has dispatched of William Hill Australia to CrownBet.

On the other hand, entering the US market in 2012 provided William Hill with not only an expansive footprint in Nevada, but also allowed them to position themselves for further US expansion should the market open up.

Daniel Kustelski, CEO of Chalkline Sports, told TotallyGaming.com: “The US business is a small portion of the over all William Hill global business, but William Hill US seems really bullish on the US. The WH US Nets Revs of $72.9M is about 8% of their total Net Revs.”

He also highlighted that: “2017 figures show 23.7% of Nevada Handle(20.9%:2016) and 29.3% of Nevada Hold(26.8%:2016) Their overall margin of 6.3% is well above all of Nevada's 5.1%. They are a good business and have a big book in Nevada. Margin is strong even though they offer the most mobile betting in Nevada.”

Looking ahead to how crowded the market could be should it open up, he emphasised that he “can’t help but think that it will be incredibly crowded”, before adding: "Pentasia has so many opening in the US it makes me think most of those are Sports Betting and most are William Hill.

"If they are hiring you can imagine that they are 'focussing'. WIlliam Hill and Paddy both have assets in the US. All the other big operators in Europe don't have many options.”

In a statement issued after the sale, William Hill’s Chief Executive Philip Bowcock stated that departing the Australian market would "allow us to focus on continuing to grow our UK Online and US businesses, particularly as we prepare for the decision on the PASPA appeal due in 2018”.

Totally Gaming says: A combination of immense potential in the US market and a poor performance in the Australian market, means aborting the Australian mission to focus on the US market has to be deemed a smart decision. Now led by William Hill US CEO Joe Asher, and with PASPA potentially being overturned this year, it seems highly likely that the group is readying itself for growth in the region.

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