William Hill posts £722 million loss for 2018 but says everything is fine
UK bookmaking giant William Hill posted an astonishing £722 million ($948.5 million USD) loss in 2018, but company officials are writing off the losses and say everything is actually fine at the company. While this statement may seem counterintuitive to the layman, investors are largely accepting the situation, leaving William Hill stock prices largely unaffected by the news.
So how is everything all right at a company that just lost something shy of $1 billion? For starters, William Hill’s revenue stream is still pretty robust, they still control about 32 percent of the very large UK gaming market and are steadily increasing their footprint in the United States. All told, the company posted up £1.62 billion (2.3 billion USD) in revenue for the year. The losses they reported stem from a one-time write-down of £882.2 million ($1.15 billion USD) as a result of UK legislation that lowered the maximum stake on fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) from £100 to £2.
In a statement to the press, as reported on by SBAmericas.com, William Hill CEO Phillip Bowcock described the situation saying, “2018 was a busy and decisive year for us. Key regulatory decisions in the UK and US gave us much needed clarity to set a new five-year strategy and a goal to double profits by 2023.”
He went on to point out, “We have three businesses at different stages, with online growing in the UK and diversifying internationally, retail being remodelled in response to the new £2 stake limit, and rapid expansion in the US sports betting market. Underpinning this, we have taken a clear leadership stance around safer gambling with our Nobody Harmed ambition. Against this backdrop, we delivered a good underlying performance in online, strong growth in the US existing business and a resilient retail out-turn in the face of difficult high street conditions.”
Bowcock is, as the kids say, not wrong – and the proof is in the company’s stock prices, which have remained largely untouched by the situation. In short, you can lose nearly $1 billion and still be okay.