UK bookmaker William Hill is reported to be in talks with Australia’s CrownBet, a major online gaming company owned by flamboyant billionaire James Packer. Although sources familiar with the discussions described them as “very preliminary,” rumours about a fusion of the two companies have been around for a while, industry experts say.
CrownBet is a major player in Australian’s gambling industry and one of the top three providers of online betting in the country with north of 280,000 active customers. However, bookmakers in Australia are increasingly coming under pressure due to tighter regulations. The government is currently planning to ban credit offered to gamblers by service providers and earlier this year a nationwide online gambling ban passed through the Senate but is yet to be confirmed and put into place. At the same time, William Hill has a large customer base in Down Under so a merger might be a win-win situation for both companies.
Earlier this week, William Hill said that it was on track to meet this year’s financial and growth expectations. Quarterly net retail revenue went up three percent. Philip Bowcock (CEO) was particularly pleased with the company’s online returns – online sales rose six percent, and the amount wagered on the Internet was up 13 percent. Especially mobile gambling has contributed to the strong online growth.
In the absence of a major sports event this year, Floyd Mayweather’s high-profile boxing bout with Conor McGregor helped boost the finances of William Hill. The event was reported to be the richest fight in the long history of professional boxing.
Gambling companies in the UK need to drive innovation and find new business streams as the industry faces several challenges in the near future. Probably the most pressing one is the anticipated clampdown on fixed-odds betting terminals. With the machines being responsible for millions of William Hill’s revenue each year, lowering the stake limit from its current £100 cap will have a serious impact on the companies growth.
It’s not surprising that William Hill has been heavily investing in online gambling over the last few years. It’s mobile casino, and sports book is among the best and has been highly rated by players in the UK year over year.