William Hill to merge online and retail divisions with Phil Walker in-charge
London-headquartered bookmaker William Hill Plc is reportedly mulling a plan to merge its online and retail divisions and appoint Phil Walker, the managing director of the company’s online gambling operations, as the in charge of the combined entity.
Emerging media reports suggest that the British bookmaker decided to merge its online and retail operations as such a move would enable it to better focus on the challenges created by the deadly COVID-19 pandemic that claimed thousands of lives across the United Kingdom, forcing the government to issue shutdown order for all non-essential businesses, including casinos.
Last month, William Hill reinforced its balance sheet by raising nearly £224 million (US$279 million) through a share placement as it has been moving ahead with its plans to expand its domestic reach. However, the bookmaker’s expansion plans suffered a snag recently after the UK government forced it to close its more than 700 betting shops due to the government’s decision that trimmed down the maximum stake for fixed-odds betting terminals from £100 (US$125) per spin to just £2 (US$2.50).
Some media reports cited the British bookmaker saying that Mr. Walker would work with the company’s Retail Managing Director Nicola Frampton for next several weeks to professionally merge the two divisions. Ms. Frampton will step down from her current position to make way for Mr. Walker.
Citing the bookmaker, the media outlets reported, “We will be immensely sad to say goodbye to Nicola Frampton when the time comes. Nicola has been with William Hill for ten years and has been a driving force on the executive team as well as being instrumental in reshaping and transforming our retail business.”
Mr. Walker has been in charge of the company’s online operations for the last one and half year. Previously, he worked with rival bookmakers Ladbrokes and Gala Coral Group Ltd for around a decade.
Listed on the London Stock Exchange, William Hill Plc was founded by William Hill in 1934, at a time when gambling was struggling to achieve legal status. It changed hands several times, being acquired Sears Holdings in 1971, then by Grand Metropolitan and Brent Walker in the years of 1988 and 1989, respectively. In 1997, it was bailed out by Japanese investment bank Nomura. Eventually, it was listed on the London Stock Exchange in 2002. Today, with its workforce of around 14,000 people, the bookmaker offers sportsbook operations, online casino games, skill games, online bingo and online poker.