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What Recession? asks William Hill.

May 1, 2009,  Peter Bowman, Staff writer

With corporations around the world from banks to miners to software giants all issuing major profit downgrades amidst the global recession, sports betting firm William Hill has just announced a rise in 2009 Q1 profits.

The rise, while only a modest 6% across all operations, highlighted strong growth in revenues from online gambling operations, which were up a massive 50%.  The strong growth in online numbers helped offset declines in traditional phone betting which was down 31% due to both cancelled race meetings and general migration of phone clients to the online channel.

"Although the economic and competitive environment remains challenging, our results show continuing resilience. Integration of our online business is progressing, with an encouraging increase in the number of customer accounts," commented CEO Ralph Topping.

William Hill's results may well be considered a microcosm of the larger pattern of customer migration from traditional to online gambling mediums. 

Clear evidence has emerged that traditional casinos, contrary to historical experience and conventional wisdom have not been immune to this economic downturn.  Revenues are down in a number of casinos and some notable operators have filed for bankruptcy including Trump and Wynn casinos.  Penny slots have become one of the few games that have experienced handle growth at many traditional casinos.

Meanwhile, revenues continue to surge at the online gambling giants like William Hill and Party Gaming, and online operators continue to invest in new delivery platforms and games despite US gambling restrictions and the current credit climate.


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