Ladbrokes, William Hill see mobile betting revenues soar

POSTED BY Global Administrator
While mobile gambling has had its fair share of false dawns, now is perhaps the time to suggest that – as with mobile advertising – the tipping point has finally been reached. Both William Hill and Ladbrokes have recently released their results for the first three months of this year, and both included some rather eyecatching stats pertaining to their mobile operations. Ladbrokes announced that revenue from its mobile services had increased 250% year-on-year, while Ladbrokes, not to be outdone on the three digit improvement front, announced that the amount wagered over its mobile services had increased by 786% over the same period. Now while these are, well, mighty impressive increases, I can sense the more sceptical among you saying, “Ah, but a 786% increase on what, precisely?” Well, it is true that William Hill did not release data to this effect, almost certainly because the level of wager (relative to its total) is still comparatively small. However, Ladbrokes has begun to unveil some statistics in this regard (which came out both in this quarter and in its annual results released in February), and they make for interesting reading. Stat number 1: Eighteen percent of Ladbrokes online customers bet via the mobile during the first three months of 2011. Stat number 2: Mobile represented 11% of total Sportsbook amounts staked in the period. Last year, Ladbrokes generated £5.7 million ($9.3 million) in revenues from its mobile sportsbook activities, up from £3.2 million ($5.2 million)in 2009. Assuming that revenues here correspond to around 8% of wager, this suggests that last year alone, Ladbrokes experienced wagers via the mobile in excess of £70 million ($115 million). When I spoke to Claire Barry from Ladbrokes last year for the most recent edition of our Mobile Gambling report, she told me that “we expect to see between a quarter and a third of our online sports betting going through mobile within the next two and a half to three years”. This implied that Ladbrokes alone was likely to see more than £200 million ($328 million) wagered via its mobile apps during 2013 – levels which, given the current rates of growth, appear comfortably achievable. Stat number 3: Mobile generated 11% of all Digital new player signups during Q1 2011. This is a further indicator of the fact that the mobile channel is increasingly perceived as a means of attracting new customers. Now, while all in the remote gambling sector is far from rosy – witness the indictment in the US of four leading poker rooms on charges of money laundering, part of a more vigorous crackdown on online gaming in the country – the mobile sector is continuing to flourish where such activity is permitted, with VODone in China and the JRA in Japan notable success stories. Indeed, even in the US, gambling apps are being beta tested for use on mobile devices in the hotels of Las Vegas. The provider of the software: American Wagering. And the company that has agreed to acquire American Wagering for around $18 million? William Hill. If the state of Nevada approves the American Wagering app, then stand by for some more eye-watering stats from William Hill when that app hits Las Vegas…