UK Gambling Round-Up: William Hill Issues Profit Warning

Cheltenham Festival hurts William Hill revenue

The Cheltenham Festival causes William Hill to adjust its annual forecast after a string of poor results. (Image: sportsworld.co.uk)

William Hill has issued a profit warning after a poor run of results at Cheltenham and a string of online betting restrictions have caused revenue to drop significantly in recent months.

According to a trading update released on March 23, William Hill announced that it expects its annual profits to fall to between £260 million and £280 million which would be between £11 million and £31 million down on 2015’s total.

William Hill Takes a Knock

Before the announcement analysts had given William Hill an average forecast of £307 million; however, after the company reported a string of losses at the Cheltenham Festival this rating has been reduced.

In addition to poor results at Cheltenham, William Hill also noted that more of its high volume online players are imposing betting restrictions on their accounts. This has led to a decrease in spend and, therefore, revenue.

Looking specifically at self-imposed restrictions, William Hill estimates that it has lost £2 million as a result of players either self-excluding themselves or using the “time out” feature (a feature that restricts the amount of time a player can gamble online) on their accounts.

The long-term effect of these restrictions, according to William Hill, will result in an annual loss of between £20 and £25 million.

After news of the revised forecast hit the headlines, William Hill’s share price dropped by 13 percent to 322p.

Students Gambling Away their Loans

While William Hill was lamenting over its financials, the Irish National Congress was busy calculating the cost of gambling apps on its student population.

According to student union officers across the country, increased access to gambling options through mobile apps has made students more likely to gamble their loans.

“The first time I started to notice it with my peers was in fourth year in secondary school. It became a tradition after class with the lads, go to the chipper, go to bookies, go to the gym,” explained DIT Students’ Union President, Boni Odoemene.

With the problem apparently reaching epidemic proportions, the Union of Students in Ireland National Congress (USI) passed a motion to raise awareness of problem gaming across universities in Ireland.

Quite how this initiative will manifest itself remains to be seen, but it seems as though more universities and student unions across Ireland will now be doing more to tackle problem gambling.

In other news, online betting company Fruit King has been ripped by Twitter users recently after it posted an image of Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy with his shirt off and the caption: “Jamie Vardy looking like an extra from Schindler’s List.”

The reference to the Holocaust caused outrage among those who read it. Fortunately the site is a relative minnow in the iGaming industry and it wasn’t seen by more than a few thousand unfortunate followers.

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