Ladbrokes Coral and Will Hill take to battle in consultation as online revenues soars

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While the amusements industry is to be kept limited in its stakes and prizes, Ladbrokes Coral and William Hill are seeing revenues rise significantly online as the bookmakers gear up for taking a “full part” in the 12 week Triennial Review consultation.


Ladbrokes Coral and William Hill have been busy updating the city recently, taking advantage of the timely opportunity – weeks two and three of the Triennial Review’s 12-week regulatory consultation – to send a message to the politicians who will decide the future of FOBTs.

While concerns about an economic downturn have come from the bookmakers,for now revenue is rising significantly in online verticals – in line with the ongoing shift away from high street betting, which began transitioning long before expected government intervention into B2 maximum stakes.

Indeed, while Ladbrokes digital net sales grew 12 percent, in contrast revenue from betting shops was down 1 percent,with stakes down 5 percent. Meanwhile, William Hill – a bookmaker that has struggled to transition to digital – posted a six percent increase online and a three percent increase in retail, as well as a remarkable 28 percent uplift in its US business.

The company’s chief executive Philip Bowcock believes that despite the long standing and widespread campaign against £100 maximum stake FOBTs, “betting shops have a unique and positive role to play in supporting problem gamblers who typically, use five or six gambling products”.

He said: “The Triennial Review has now moved into the second consultation stage and we look forward to receiving much needed clarity. We will contribute both directly and via the industry trade associations, emphasising the need for evidence-based decision making.

“Betting shops have a unique and positive role to play in supporting problem gamblers who typically, use five or six gambling products… We continue to make good progress on our transformation programme, which is on track to deliver £40m of annualised savings by the end of this year.

“This is supporting reinvestment in our business,including marketing increases in this second half to pro- mote online’s reinvigorated product and customer experience.”

A Ladbrokes spokesperson also stated that it will be applying pressure to the DCMS: “Ladbrokes Coral reached its first birthday on 1 November, the day after the further consultation on the Triennial Review was announced. We have existed with the uncertainty caused by the review since we were created and hope that the announcement of a 12 week consultation heralds a positive step to reaching a final outcome.We will take full part in the consultation.”

While the Triennial Review has dominated discussions in the amusement industry, for Ladbrokes and William Hill it is part of a debate that also includes acquisitions, jurisdictions outside the UK,and the World Cup next year.

Indeed, while investors predict the bookmakers will take a hit from a £2 maximum stake limit on B2s, it could be offset by online revenue in emerging markets and a strong performance from the World Cup.

Investors agreed that with so many variables the economic impact of the final maximum stake is difficult to predict, especially as although bookmakers have been overly-reliant of FOBTs, the transition to digital is already very much underway.


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