William Hill See Profitable 2018, But Worries About Australia
2017 was a good year for William Hill and its global gaming operations saw plenty of profit. But the company is moving into 2018 with a note of caution as a regulatory clampdown Down Under threatens to make operating in Australia a major headache.
William Hill is stepping into 2018 on a very positive note. According to a William Hill trading statement released on January 15, the company saw an adjusted operating profit of £290 million ($399.5 million USD) for the year that just ended. That’s up 11 percent over the previous year. The company credits the boost to strong earnings in both the UK and the United States.
Company officials said that sports betting operations were positively impacted by strong action in horse racing and, of course, football. Outside of the UK, William Hill’s sports betting division saw double digit growth in the US, but was particularly concerned about what 2018 will look like for its Australian operations.
In stark contrast to the company’s mostly positive report, company officials said that due to changes in the regulatory environment in Australia (particularly a ban on deposit bonuses and a slew of new taxes) that their Down Under operations will be under particular scrutiny in 2018. In a statement to the press, a company official had this to say about the matter:
Given the credit betting ban in Australia and the likely introduction of a Point of Consumption tax in a number of states, it is clear that profitability will increasingly come under pressure and therefore we are undertaking a strategic review of our Australia business.
Judging by the tone of the statements coming out of William Hill, it appears as though company officials are not so sure that Australia will continue to be a reliable source of revenue for gambling operators in the future. But only time will tell how big an impact Australia’s new regulations will have on William Hill and its competitors in Australia.