William Hill to act as FTSE Pacemaker as industry enters crucial 2018

City eyes eagerly await the publication of FTSE bookmaker William Hill Plc’s Q4 2017 trading update on Thursday 18 January.

The first of the UK legacy bookmakers to publish its closing 2017 statement, City analysts expect a strong trading update from William Hill, following favourable Premier League results recorded during the Christmas period.

The FTSE bookmaker is expected to be the industry pacemaker, as sector incumbents enter a defining 2018, awaiting regulatory changes to FOBTs wagering levels alongside stricter advertising standards.

Led by new CEO Philip Bowcock, 2017 saw William Hill restructure its governance and leadership teams. Closing the year, William Hill confirmed the appointment of UK leisure and gambling guru Roger Devlin as new Group Chairman.

Taking over William Hill leadership in 2017, Philip Bowcock implemented a ‘£40 million cost efficiencies’ strategy, with the bookmaker seeking to reinvestment funds in new marketing channels and operational initiatives.

Industry analysts will continue to monitor William Hill closely, as the only FTSE-listed gambling firm not to partake in any M&A activity.

Throughout 2017, a new William Hill leadership team emphasised that the company was focused on its market recovery outlining ‘three strategic priorities’: 1) growing group UK market share, 2) expanding William Hill’s international footprint and 3) delivering on group technology transformation.

Though William Hill has recently fended off M&A suitors, the company concedes that it is competing in a tougher UK marketplace against enlarged FTSE rivals. Sector analysts await to see whether 2018 will be the year in which ‘Hills finally get hitched…’

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