William Hill to launch dedicated Irish website

WILLIAM HILL is set to launch a dedicated Irish website in the next three months, to capitalise on an increase in revenues from its internet operations here.

While the establishment of such a site, aimed directly at its Irish-based customers, will boost job levels at the company, it remains unclear if any of the new positions will be based in Ireland or entirely in Gibraltar, where the company’s online gaming division is headquartered for tax purposes.

The British bookmaker is due to publish its first-half results next month and said yesterday, as part of its interim trading update, that group revenue grew by about 3%, on a year-on-year basis, over the course of the six months.

The online division performed strongly in the first half, with operating profit thought to be up by 43% on the corresponding period last year and divisional revenue up by around 24%, year-on-year.

Overall first-half group EBITDA, before exceptional items are included, is forecast to come in at around £135m, marginally up on the same period last year.

While the Irish division is not broken out from group figures, the company said the online business here enjoyed “very strong growth” in the six months. Although William Hill’s retail portfolio in the Republic is down to 35 shops (it operates a further 37 in the North) there are currently no plans for further store closures, although operations are still under review.

The company had one of its best World Cups for 40 years, but will be reviewing its telephone betting division, which saw net revenues fall by over 30% in the first half of the year. “The board has previously noted the challenge of competing with UK betting exchanges and Irish offshore telebetting operators,” said group chief executive, Ralph Topping.


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