It’s not often that the bookies’ more generous side is reported.
But that’s exactly what happened this week when William Hill decided to top up the winnings of punters who had gotten a better Starting Price elsewhere.
Hills were offering 16/1 about Untold Secret, who was running at Meydan on November 8. The six-year-old subsequently romped home on the dirt, and the bookmaker came out and said they were ‘uncomfortable’ with the knowledge that the SP elsewhere was as long as 28/1.
So, rather than simply paying lip service to the difference in price, they put their money where their mouth is.
Good Day at the Office
Punters who had taken the 16/1 found their accounts to be topped up with the difference, with Hills paying out at 28/1.
It comes after a period of uncertainty in which the firm have continued to offer their own SP, rather than using the industry-led odds supplied by SIS and used by other bookies, for races in the US, France and Dubai.
William Hill’s spokesman, Rupert Adams, said: “We are laying William Hill prices throughout the day and returning the SP as the last traded price.
“The prices are a reflection of our liability positions and internal opinions, as well as taking into account the market place, including the exchanges, and in no way do we amend SPs after the off so that we have no risk.”
The Guardian reports that for the first four races of the meeting at Meydan on November 22, William Hill bettered the SP on two occasions, matched it on a third and were lower once.
That dispels any concerns that the firm were manipulating their prices, and that no nefarious antics were involved in reaching their final SPs.
‘One hundred per cent, no’ was Adams’ response when it was suggested that their liabilities were being derived from accumulator bets – especially where the horse happened to be the last leg of a potentially-lucrative multiple.
It’s Good to be Green as Takeover is Completed
It’s been a good week for William Hill from a PR perspective then, and it’s gotten even better from a business perspective to.
They have recently wrapped up the acquisition of the Swedish firm, Mr Green, for a whopping £242 million.
That will give them an increased audience across much of Europe courtesy of the Scandinavian firm, and that is welcomed given the toughening conditions of the UK market.
The FOBT debacle and the increase in Remote Gaming Duty announced in the government’s autumn budget has dampened expectations on the high street and online, with many firms predicting shop closures and redundancies as a result.
Hills’ chief executive, Philip Bowcock, said: “We know we are heavily reliant on the UK market and what we need to think about is how we diversify to make sure we get more revenues from other markets.
“This provides that and takes our international revenues from about 14 per cent to about 21 per cent but just as importantly Mr Green is a significant growth engine.”
“Mr Green is a leading brand, it is the leading casino brand in Germany and number three in Austria – for example – and clearly they have significant presence in the Nordics and Sweden in particular.”