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William Hill Chairman to Step Down


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Last week Charles Scott, the chairman of leading LSE-listed gambling group
William Hill
Plc, announced that he will step down at the end of 2010, which
means the large land and online gambling firm will start seeking a worthy
successor to the multi-million pound business.

Aged 60, Scott has been a director of William Hill since 1999 and was appointed
chairman in 2004. Under his guidance, William Hill has evolved into a highly
successful gambling operation with over 2300 betting shops in the UK and
Ireland, as well as telephonic and online betting services.

As any outgoing chairman aims to do, Scott will leave the company in great
shape. The total net revenue for the William Hill group for the 2009 fiscal year
is expected to show an approximate increase of 4 percent compared with
2008,which means revenues in excess of £250 million.

Although William Hill’s final 2009 results will only be released on February 26,
the market is expected to react favourably to them. In fact, respected Daniel
Stewart analyst, James Hollins, described William Hill’s results as ‘strong due
to significantly improved cost control and margin performance.’

Gross win margins for the year settled back down to between the 17 and 18
percent range. These are made up of total betting revenues before expenses are
deducted. In the third quarter, William Hill’s gross win margin sunk to 15.4
percent on account of unexpected sports results.

Meanwhile, the company’s fourth-quarter net revenue increased by 6 percent,
which has been attributed to an increase in its greatly expanded online business
in 2009 compared to its standalone online business in 2008. William Hill shares
were up 5 pence, or 2.5 percent at 190 pence

Interestingly, Scott tendered his resignation barely a week after Christopher
Bell, CEO of large rival gambling firm Ladbrokes, also announced his
resignation. Although, unlike Scott who skippered William Hill to impressive
heights over the last year, Bell’s results were not so impressive.

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