Prominent UK bookmaker William Hill has reported a dramatic 57% year-on-year drop in net revenue for the seven weeks to 28 April due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
In response, the operator has significantly cut their outgoings and accessed government support, with the result that it expects the impact on its earnings to fall below its initial estimates.
For the period from the start of the year to April 28, revenue dropped 27% from the previous year. UK revenue dropped 11%, while international online actually rose by 21% although this was due to the acquisition of the MRG Group. Meanwhile retail revenue fell by 35% and the US retail sector showed a drop of 16% in revenue due to the closure of all gambling premises.
Despite the disruption from the pandemic, William Hill have said that they have taken a number of measures to offset the impact. These included furloughing all of its shop staff and taking full advantage of available government schemes to help pay employees. The bookmaker also revealed that it had been topping up staff wages to ensure they received full pay during the period.
Other actions taken by the gambling company include cutting some costs by postponing recruitment, and salary increases, reducing their marketing spend, and supplier changes. As a result, they say they have been able to cut their monthly cash outflow.
Speaking about the difficult situation the company found itself in, the Chief Executive, Ulrik Bengtsson, said that they had been working hard to protect employees, customers and the business:
“We reacted quickly to the cancellation of sports activities and the closure of our retail estate. We took immediate measures to save costs, reduce cash outflow and minimise non-essential expenditure by negotiating with our suppliers, cancelling pay rises and executive bonuses and suspending the dividend.”
Bengtsson added that William Hill had emphasised its commitment to protecting customers by significantly increasing the number of safe gambling messages put out to players.