January 16th Poker news ... Poker Playergames at pokerplayergames.com
WILL HILL ISSUES Q4 AND FULL YEAR TRADING UPDATE
A trading statement issued by William Hill on its fourth quarter ending December 31, 2013 showed strong underlying net revenue growth from sports betting with above average gross win margins in Retail over-the-counter (OTC) and strong wagering growth from Online Sportsbook.
Key performance highlights for the fourth quarter ending December 31, 2013 included:
-Online total gaming net revenue increased by 14 percent.
-amounts wagered showed strong growth of 38 percent.
-Gross win margin of 8.1 percent reflecting an improvement on the 6.3 percent seen in Q3 (2012 Q4: 8.4 percent), net revenue increased 30 percent.
-Mobile Sportsbook :
-Stakes 92 percent higher than in 2012 and a gross win margin of 9.7 percent.
-Net revenue was up 2 percent, with underlying 13 week growth of 4 percent after adjusting for market closures.
-Net revenue was 199 percent higher than in 2012 and increased to 23 percent of Onlines total gaming net revenue.
Our investment programme is enabling the delivery of a high quality mobile gaming experience, with further product launches and the implementation of key enablers such as single sign on and multiple payments, commented Ralph Topping, chief executive officer of William Hill.
-Net revenue grew 13 percent. Adjusting for Machine Games Duty (MGD), it was up 4 percent.
-OTC net revenue was up 4 percent with amounts wagered down 2 percent but the gross win margin up strongly by 1.2 percentage points to 20.3 percent.
-Gaming machine net revenue was up 24 percent; on an underlying basis1, it was up 3 percent.
-Gross win per machine per week was up from GBP 918 in 2012 to GBP 920.
The Sportingbet and tomwaterhouse.com businesses were both impacted by poor results in the peak Spring Carnival period, with 42 percent of favourites winning the group races through the carnival compared with 18 percent in 2012.
The company said operational improvement plans are progressing well regarding an improved user experience, digital capabilities and the marketing mix.
United States of America
William Hill US had a strong quarter, ending William Hill's first full year of ownership, with amounts wagered up 34 percent (13 week basis +47 percent) and net revenue more than 150 percent (13 week basis over 250 percent) ahead of Q4 2012 following an 8.3 percent gross win margin, recovering from the very weak comparative in 2012 (4.2 percent, 13 week basis 3.4 percent).
Q4 proved a strong end to the year as we enjoyed continued momentum in Sportsbook with 38 percent more wagered in Q4 on a 13 week basis than last year. This demonstrates our competitive strength in Online ahead of the expected introduction of the Point of Consumption tax in December 2014.
We made good progress on key initiatives in the quarter: improving our mobile gaming offer, rolling out the Eclipse gaming machine to over a third of our estate and continuing to enhance Australias digital capabilities. It is also pleasing to see a turnaround in the profitability of our US business in our first full year of ownership, Topping said.
Key performance highlights for the twelve month period ending December 31, 2013 included:
-Group net revenue increased 16 percent (52 week basis +18 percent). Adjusting for MGD, it was up 10 percent (52 week basis +12 percent).
-Retail net revenue was up 8 percent (52 week basis +10 percent) or flat adjusting for MGD (52 week basis +2 percent)
-Online net revenue was up 10 percent (52 week basis +12 percent).
-Group Operating profit is expected to be around GBP 334 million.
-Full year defined amortisation is now expected to be cGBP 11 million.
-Exceptional items are expected to total GBP 18.6 million; in line with previous guidance with the exception of a fall in value of GBP 1.4 million on our investment property portfolio.
-Group net debt for covenant purposes stood at around GBP 800 million at 31 December 2013.
William Hill's Online Sportsbook continues to show strong wagering growth, up 48 percent in the first two weeks of 2014. However, unfavourable football results in week 2, leading to an unusually high number of odds-on favourites winning, had an adverse impact on the accumulator business which recorded a c GBP 13 million loss in the week.
"There is no certainty that we can recoup this shortfall to internal expectations but based on previous experience of such customer-friendly outcomes, such as 'Dettori Day' in 1996, we anticipate a positive benefit from increased customer confidence, particularly with so much of the season ahead and with the 2014 World Cup to come," concluded Topping.
BLAIR HINKLE WINS SEMINOLE HARD ROCK POKER OPEN
Kansas City, Missouri professional player NFL Lines Blair Hinkle (27) is $1,745,245 million richer after winning the $10 million guaranteed Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Wednesday following an intense 160-hand heads up against internet and tournament ace Justin Bonomo.
Billed as the richest live poker tournament ever held in the state of Florida, the $5,300 buy-in Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open attracted a huge field of 2,384 entries, generating a prize pool of $11,920,000 - well over the casino guarantee.
The action took the most part of a week to unfold before Hinkle emerged as the winner.
By the time the competition had reached final table stage, Hinkle held the most chips, facing Justin Bonomo, Mukul Pahuja, Ray Qartomy, Samuel Bernabeau Guilabert and Greg Lehn.
Going into the heads up Hinkle and his last remaining opponent, Justin Bonomo, were more or less even in chips, adding to the already intense competition to win the first prize.
It turned out to be an exciting display of skill, discipline and aggression as the two professionals fought it out in a protracted struggle that saw the lead change several times before Hinkle was able to build a 6 to 1 advantage and finally take the win.
Bonomo's well-earned second placing pay day was worth $1,163,500.
The win brings Hinkle's career earnings to over $3.5 million, a million of which is reportedly still stuck in federal enforcement hands following the Black Friday debacle in April 2011....hopefully that will soon be released by the independent payment company hired by the federal authorities (see previous InfoPowa reports).
GAMENET SIGNS INSPIRED VIRTUAL SPORTS
Italian operator Gamenet Italy has signed up for the Inspired Gaming Group's virtual sports for the Italian market.
Under the terms of the deal Gamenet customers will be able to bet on Inspired virtual events using Gamenet's own online platform at Gamenet.com as well at through over 100 retail betting shops in Italy.
Virtual sports on offer will encompass football, horse racing, horse trotting, greyhound racing, speedway, motor racing, tennis and cycling.
Gamenet joins a host of other Italian operators utilising Inspireds virtual sports offering that include SNAI, Sisal, Eurobet, Cogetech and Lottomatica.
Inspired has entered the Italian authority AAMS' homologation process following legislation that legalised fixed-odds bets on virtual sports events online. The company expects to have its products go live in July 2013.
Steve Rogers, Managing Director of Inspireds Virtual Sports division, commented: This is a very special moment for the new Virtual Sports market in Italy and for Inspired. Our years of experience worldwide have demonstrated that our virtual sports products generate incremental revenues for sports betting operators across all channels. Our premium content package continues to deliver revenues far in excess of those of our competitors. We supply our virtual sports to many of the worlds most successful gaming companies and were delighted to announce Gamenet as a new customer.
POKER ACES IN ANOTHER MAJOR CLASH
Online poker railbirds at the virtual high stakes tables on the Full Tilt Poker site were treated to another series of epic confrontations between Ben Bttech86 Tollerene and Viktor "Isildur1" Blom this weekend as the two mixed it up once again.
InfoPowa readers will remember previous high-value PLO heads up games in which amounts in the millions have changed hands between the two young poker aces, most recently last week's clashes when Blom took Tollarene for over $700,000.
On Saturday Tollarene took his revenge on the $500/$1,000 CAP PLO tables at Full Tilt, sending the Swede home nursing a $400,000 loss at the end of the session.
Typically, Blom was back looking for more action on Sunday and Tollarene was only too happy to oblige, with the duo playing a thousand hands, again on the nosebleed PLO tables.
It was not a good day for Tollarene, who was down $880,000 at the end of the session, according to the High Stakes Database.
Railbirds who have developed a taste for the aggressive and fast moving clashes between these two talented players will almost certainly have more excitement in store.