William Hill Comes under Pressure to Reveal FOBTs Clampdown Financial Consequences

Bookmaker William Hill will be pressured to disclose this week how the pending clampdown on fixed-odds betting terminals will impact its profitability, The Times reported. The company is set to post its trading update for the third quarter of the year on Monday.

Late last month, the UK Government finally published the results from a probe into the highly controversial gambling machines. British MPs confirmed that there will be a reduction of the maximum stake FOBTs accept but they are yet to decide by how much it will be slashed.

The publication of the review was followed by the launch of a 12-week consultation period, during which MPs will collect evidence from industry stakeholders, anti-gambling campaigners, and other involved parties to determine what would be the best solution to what has turned into a serious issue over the past several years.

At present, the gambling devices accept a maximum stake of £100 every 20 seconds. Under the Government’s recommendations the stake could be slashed to £50, £20, or even £2. Any of the three options would occasion considerable losses to bookmakers with retail presence in the UK gambling market, but it is believed that William Hill will be among the biggest losers.

The operator currently manages around 2,400 betting shops with FOBTs across the nation. Up until last fall, William Hill was the largest retail betting chain operator. The merger between Ladbrokes and Coral, which was completed last fall, created a new high street retail betting leader. However, William Hill still holds a massive stake in that segment of UK’s gambling market and its finances will certainly suffer quite a lot from the looming crackdown.

As mentioned above, the operator will post a financial update on Monday. According to forecasts, it will report revenue increase of around 7.2% for the third quarter of the year, with revenue from online gambling services up 14%.

William Hill and the Sports Betting Industry in the US

Excluding four states, sports betting is prohibited by a federal ban in the United States. However, the legal status quo may change soon as the US Supreme Court is set to announce its decision on whether the long-standing prohibition should be lifted sometime next year.

Earlier this year, the nation’s highest ranking court announced that it would consider New Jersey’s case for the legality of sports betting. A hearing on the matter will be held on December 4. As mentioned earlier, the decision will probably be announced next year.

William Hill will benefit quite a lot in case the Supreme Court rules that the ban should be lifted, particularly given the fact that further expansion into the US could help it offset losses from the FOBTs crackdown in its homeland. The operator currently holds a 55% stake in Nevada’s legal sports betting market and has already made moves to expand into New Jersey, should the provision of that type of gambling service become legal.

In 2013, the British bookmaker entered into agreement to become the exclusive sports betting partner of New Jersey’s Monmouth Park Racetrack, once the nationwide ban is lifted.

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