Generating well over £100 million in betting each April, the world’s most famous steeplechase is usually a cause for celebration for the industry, bringing in more cash over the counter and through increasingly popular online betting sites than the FA CUp Final, Wimbledon, or any other major sporting event.
25,000 bets per minute
What’s more, with a later start time of 5.15pm being implemented primarily to increase television viewing figures, big time bookies were gearing up for their most frantic Grand National Day to date, with British newspaper The Daily Mail reporting that William Hill were expecting to process no less than 25,000 bets per minute (yes, minute) during peak times.
A blow to the bottom line
Though whilst those in charge at the company should have been rejoicing like all their Christmases and birthdays had come at once, the 2016 installment of the almost two century old race actually had bookmakers looking at their potential profits with a fair amount of dread.
Their cause for concern: 2015’s winner, Many Clouds. After being 25-1 odds last year, the top weight horse trained by Oliver Sherwood was picked for success as the 7-1 odds on favourite. Should the British thoroughbred repeat his 2015 performance, bookies were looking at a hefty payout.
William Hill’s expanding portfolio
Not that they should have been too concerned. Whatever the outcome of Saturday’s race,a and whatever pay out the may -or may not- have needed to dole out to lucky punters, the overall impact was always going to be offset by one of the many offshoots from their traditional bookmaking role, offshoots which for WIlliam Hill at least make an ever-expanding and diverse portfolio of gambling and gaming brands.
Not content with their status as one of the most well known names in UK sports betting, William Hill have spent the past few years taking advantage of both the growth of the Internet and the rising amount of international TV coverage in introducing new betting markets for sports leagues on several different continents.
Indeed, along with the latest odds on Premier League football, cricket tests and fixtures for other major British sports, visitors to the brand’s main website will also find they can wager on everything from Australian Rules Football and the Spanish Liga National Futsal competition, all the way down to the competitive video gaming phenomenon known as e-sports.
Real success in virtual gaming
The diversification doesn’t end there either. Taking their cues from the growing popularity of online gaming, William Hill even launched their own virtual casino. Labelled William Hill Vegas and available through their own dedicated website ( http://vegas.williamhill.com/) for both destop and portable devices.
The casino itself has seen its own expansion in recent months, with 24/7 access to virtual slot games and computer generated versions of casino staples such as Poker and Blackjack being complimented by their sister site, William Hill Live Casino, where live streaming video feeds allow gamers to interact with human dealers in real time.
Together, the two are giving the company’s traditional sports betting arm a serious run for their money. As such, no matter what the outcome of the Grand National or any other single event, it’s safe to say that the company’s ever-expanding portfolio ensures they’ll remain ahead of the game for a long time to come.