William Hill Chief Executive Philip Bowcock has stated to investors that his tenure will reshape the UK legacy bookmaker into a ‘digitally led and internationally diverse gambling business’.
Speaking at the FTSE firm’s ‘Capital Markets Day’, Bowcock outlines the three strategic areas that will drive William Hill’s corporate turnaround, seeking to completely transform the bookmaker by: –
- Driving digital growth in the UK and internationally
- Growing a business of rapid scale in the US
- Remodelling UK Retail
“We will meaningfully reshape William Hill over the coming years, moving from a business that is predominantly UK-centric and land-based to being a leading gambling business that is digitally led, internationally diverse and sustainable ” Bowcock states
Bowcock is confident of William Hill securing its proposed £242 million acquisition of Stockholm-listed MRG Group, strengthening the firm’s European digital profile by acquiring a proven multi-market asset.
“Our ambition is to build the world’s most trusted digital gambling brand and a business with greater scale, more geographic diversity and higher profit margins. The UK is our largest market and we will deliver an engaging and safe customer experience which will enable us to grow sustainably ahead of market growth rates and gain market share”.
Digital growth will be supported by William Hill’s aggressive US growth strategy, in which the company has committed to investing $70 million towards driving technological improvements, seeking to secure an early mover advantage over competing European incumbents.
Led by Joe Asher, William Hill US has been tasked with developing the lead sportsbook proposition for a market that could ‘generate between $5-19 billion in sports betting revenues by 2023’.
“Our ambition is to grow William Hill US’s EBITDA from $50m from the US Existing business in 2018 to c$300m from the US Existing and US Expansion business in 2023. We expect our operations in new retail and tethered mobile states to become profitable within their first one to two years, supporting investment in the brand, marketing and technology”
Though Bowcock presents a bold global mission statement, at home William Hill has to immediately address its UK retail downturns which have dragged corporate performance and value.
Facing a tougher UK regulatory environment following 2018’s Triennial Review judgement, industry analysts will be keeping a close eye on how Bowcock remodels William Hill’s retail proposition.
Mitigating the inbound FOBTs £2 wagering reduction, Bowcock confirms that William Hill has begun to research product innovations which may offer sustainable alternatives to B2 gaming machines.
“The implementation date has been announced as October 2019. As previously announced, we expect this change to reduce Retail’s profitability by £70-100m following mitigation measures, including circa £15m of cost reductions.”
Closing the address to investors, Bowcock outlines that all William Hill future growth initiatives across a global scale will be underpinned by the Group’s approach to sustainability through its long-term corporate initiative ‘that nobody is harmed by gambling’.