Despite nice returns on World Cup betting online, William Hill is reporting a whopping 33% drop in net telephone wagering revenues in the last half-year. And, feeling the pinch of the economy, the bookmaker may move its telebetting operations to a location outside the UK.
Specifically blaming the poor performance on the “worst ever Royal Ascot” and a “relatively weak Grand National,” William Hill representatives hinted to British media that the longstanding company may have to relocate its call center elsewhere in order to compete with certain British and Irish bookmakers who already do so.
“The [William Hill] board has previously noted the challenge of competing with UK betting exchanges and Irish offshore telebetting operators, all of whom have benefitted from significant tax and cost advantages over UK bookmakers,” read a statement from the company in part.
Though William Hill is a “White List” casino, thereby legal to operate in the UK under current British gambling laws, it remains one of the few online sportsbooks in the UK which still employs telephone workers in the country.
On the plus side, William Hill noted net revenue growth in Internet gambling of 24% and a 43% increase in operating profit year-on-year. William Hill is now forecasting earnings of about £135 million ($208 million) for the six months of 2010, up a tiny bit from the £134.6 million in 2009.
It should be noted that the 33% drop came even after William Hill took the largest-ever wager – a £417,000 (almost $650,000) on the World Cup via phone – and won.