William Hill May Leave U.K.
June 26, 2009 (CAP Newswire) — Online gaming and betting company William Hill has been the focus of a pair of articles in today’s London’s Financial Times, both centering on reports that the company is getting ready to move its operations out of the U.K.
“We are already an international business, with significant parts of our operations in different countries,” explained the company’s CEO Ralph Topping to the newspaper, “and [we’re] expanding in terms of our overseas involvement. We view ourselves as an international business, and not just a U.K. bookmaker.”
All the same, the U.K. business community is expressing dismay that William Hill may move offshores, especially if it becomes part of a larger trend. The country’s treasury and culture departments issued a joint statement saying they would be “'very disappointed” if leading bookmakers moved offshore,” according to the article.
But they can’t be all that surprised. U.K. bookmakers must pay 15 percent tax on gross profits; in Ireland, that tax is just 1.5 percent. That gives competitors like Paddy Power a pretty big competitive advantage over any company based in the U.K.
Interestingly, this news arrives not long after reports that William Hill’s revenue jumped in the first quarter of 2009, up a whopping 50 percent over the same period last year.