William Hill is among one of the five sports betting giants in the world with an 80+ year history since its birth in the UK. For ages the company has dominated the market with licensed betting offices (LBO´s) with more than 8,800 across the world and virtually one on every populated corner of the UK. The amount of shops is such that in Ireland alone they had to down grade amongst monopoly fears. Just a few years back William Hill made a major retail acquisition of the main players in Las Vegas, entering the coveted United States market on the line of business the know the most.
But why keep betting on retail brick and mortar shops when most of the market now bets online with growth leaps in that area each year? Not only that, mobile betting is expected to be over 50% in market share by 2019.
It is point noting William Hill Sportsbook has not abandoned the online market and is actually making great advancement in this area. In fact, WH owns a large share of one of the major online casino developers in the world, The Israeli company ____ which is used by all big online casinos in Europe. In addition it licenses its casino with 4 more partners, offering one of the most varied portfolios of casino games.
Perhaps their most important moves on online gaming have been the creation of a Virtual Sports Betting Platform, which very few sportsbooks have. Virtual Sports are computer generated events with graphics that resemble the most modern video games, but controlled by artificial intelligence algorithms. The Advantage to the player is the ability to bet at all moments in all types of sport events, in essence it is an advanced casino game that looks like a video game.
But William Hill knows where its strengths and weaknesses lie, and in the online community fresher competitors have arise that appeal more to the young bettors. While WH fights for that market share, they keep growing their business more rapidly in the area where they are in full control of the market, retail.
“We believe that LBO customers are looking for an entertaining and engaging experience, ranking convenience as their main reason to bet in LBOs per se and location and customer service as the key reasons for choosing a particular LBO. We have focused on the quality of our customer service, our product range – particularly in football – and technology innovations to bring customers an attractive and differentiated offering.” – __________
Understanding that not all bettors appeal to the online world all the time, specially with those from a certain age rank or country location were the online laws and penetration are not the same as countries from the first world. That even includes the United States were gamblers are required to physically move into Las Vegas to place an online bet to comply with local laws. Young bettors are also dependent on retail when they lack access to a credit card or e-wallet services. Such is the case with those just beginning in their first job or those located in countries were online international transactions are not an option still (Africa, Latin America and parts of Asia).
Retail will always have an added value online will not, and that is the human touch.
“Our teams benefit from a unique training structure which allows them to become experts in our products. This sets us apart even further from the industry competitors, as no matter what issues arise; our colleagues can be relied upon to provide a solution to earning us the only thing money cannot buy on the high street…trust.”
Retail shops are more than just a spot with an assistant to help you place a bet; William Hill customers enjoy watching the events on a HD video wall, a cinematic size projection with live odd tables to engulf the bettor in a 360 experience. The experience is enhanced with live commentators and professional pundits for horse racing events and football.
So what is the lesson here? Keep doing what you know to do best, even if it’s not the trend right now. But don´t take that as a reason to ignore where the market is heading, look for ways to integrate the new and the old to your advantage.