In its trading update, William Hill has reported a 16% year-on-year drop in net revenue for full-year 2020 in what the operator called an “extraordinary” year due to the impact of COVID-19.
Group net revenue was down to £1.32bn ($1.81bn) for the year ending 29 December, which saw several national lockdowns impact its retail business with betting shops closed for large periods, while the suspension of live sport in March also caused severe disruption.
As a result of two national lockdowns and the regional tiered system in England during 2020, retail net revenue fell 30% on a like-for-like basis, with the COVID-19 restrictions impacting its 1,414 betting shops, leading to a loss of £30m for the year.
However, its online operations performed well with its online international net revenue up 12% on a pro-forma basis following the successful integration of Mr Green, while online UK net revenue grew 5%.
Its US net revenue was up 32% for the year thanks to a strong growth online, with William Hill US going live in five new states which led to a 121% increase in net revenue for Q4, compared to the previous year.
A return to a full sporting calendar in the final quarter of the year helped the group’s total net revenue grow 9% from 2019 for Q4.
The operator also mentioned that its proposed acquisition by Caesars Entertainment is expected to close in Q2 2021 or as early as March, providing the remaining US regulatory approvals are met following a £2.9bn deal being reached last September.
William Hill CEO Ulrik Bengtsson said: “2020 was a year like no other. It tested our agility and flexibility and we delivered, keeping our customers and team safe, whilst materially improving our competitive position through product enhancements and geographical expansion.”