When we look at the recent history and numbers of the sports betting industry, we can clearly see a market dominated by digital, mobile and millennials.
Back in the 90’s the very first online sportsbooks came to live very shyly. In 2002 the real revolution began with the announcement of betting exchanges, a very estrange idea back in the day, and in 2012 we have a large explosion of mobile betting. By 2016 more than 30% of online bettors use their mobile phone to place bets, especially with the increase use of inplay-bets or live bets which happen at the same time a match is at play. If current trends hold, mobile bettors will account for than 50% by 2020, this number could actually be higher.
It wouldn´t make much sense to expand a business model through physical retail shops with this data, or does it? William is doing it.
Who is William Hill?
William Hill is one of UK’s most traditional sportsbook’s with over 80 years in business. There are betting shops all over the country and it is not unusual to spot one around every 4 or 5 corners in certain cities. In Ireland the government had to endorse monopoly concerns for the amount of shops.
WH is also ranking in the top 4 sportsbooks in Spain, Italy and Australia with strong acquisitions of sportsbooks in those countries. In 2012 they acquired 3 sportsbooks in Nevada, becoming the largest player in the state with 56% of all retail shops.
Do not take into account this is an old company in denial of the new way of doing business. In the contrary, William Hill Online is one of the very few sportsbooks that has released their own betting app, bingo app and probably soon to come casino app and poker app. They have an active online player base of 2.2 million.
The Calm Waters Business Strategy
The calm waters always come after a big storm at sea. You see, the strongest online competitors in sports betting have quickly rearranged their business around online and mobile betting. Some of them are exclusively mobile betting only.
While William Hill is not unaware were the market is going, and they ride along, they are more aware of what’s left behind. No one of the big names is tending the retail market. A perfect calm water moment to take over as much market share as possible.
So are they tending to the old players that don´t know how to bet from their home or phone. Not exactly. The betting shops are interactive centers, players can find computers to place their bets, large video wall with cinematic surround to watch the games they are betting on and premium service. It’s an experience, a community center for aficionados to the trait, and they are doing this alone with little competition to bother them.
So next time you think about growing your business, sometimes there is a big business opportunity by looking back, not necessarily forward.