Speaking at the firm’s interim results, Henderson was quite bullish about Hill’s position, certainly compared to some of its competitors. He commented: “I think the numbers are strong. The underlying growth, even if you strip out the World Cup, is strong. So I think we’re best placed to be able to go into a point of consumption environment.
“With the point of consumption coming up, I think already some of our competitors have made a few tweaks. As we know, Rank and Blue Square came out of the business around about 18 months ago. Stan James, I think, are looking to outsource their trading platform, and another bookmaker is looking to withdraw from Gibraltar. So there have been a few operational changes. I think ‘certainly, from our point, we’re best placed in regards to the upcoming point of consumption.”
Henderson explained that William Hill has already tied up its intended TV advertising around football, with a top tier package with Sky, which runs through until July of next year, and the sponsorship of BT Sports’ Premier League coverage.
He added: “I believe our online and mobile marketing techniques remain best in class. We’re making continued gains in SEO and out of store rankings too. In fact, we almost had as many new accounts from SEO as we did from affiliates in the World Cup, and I think we’ll see more of this as mobile increases. And we’re also using social media more to drive our acquisition.”
The bookmaker has also been looking at further efficiencies, including detailed analysis to determine the best approach to some of its key offers, saving from supplier contracts, and optimising headcount. Henderson commented: “So we’re on track to deliver the £15m-£20m savings we targeted, and we’re in pretty good shape ahead of the tax coming in. On the regulatory side, we’re on track for the government’s online licensing deadline of October 1. We’ll monitor how the GBGA challenge progresses, but we assume we’ll either be paying the tax, or accruing for it from December.”