When the Old Way is Better than the New

In the business world it is always of great importance to stay ahead of technological changes and disruptions. If you don’t, your clients will go with the one who is. But as all your competitors are moving out to the hip new thing, the old market all of a sudden available to the very few that remain.

This is the case of William Hill online, one of the world’s heavy weights in sports betting. William Hill is the grand daddy of sports betting with more than 80 years in the market. They began taking bets hand to hand in racetracks, creating an empire that extends from the street corner of every major city in the UK, to Europe and now Las Vegas. Licensing Betting Offices or LBO’s, are the heart of the company. William Hill has followed the trend of online betting; they even purchased a major online casino game producer and then created their very own virtual betting games.  Players can even download a WH app from their website.

But the question stands, why keep betting on retail betting when the market is moving at a fast pace to online?

Online betting is by 2016, 30% of all bets taken in the world. It was less than 10% just 2 years back. The market penetration of smart phones and better wireless connection has made this possible. The advent of Insta-Play or Live Betting (a format of bets were the player can take multiple bets as the game is playing live) has made mobile betting even more prominent.  By 2019 it is expected mobile betting alone will account for 50% of the market share or more.

Online is taking over, no questions asked. Considering the average age of online bettors is between 20 to 28 years, retail is definitely not the future.

So as the big, medium, and small fish all fight for some piece of the online business, William Hill continues to expand its retail empire.Even though it might not be as juicy as it once was it now has the entire cake for itself.

The business strategy makes sense, retail is the market they know best and dominate with the added benefits of owning real state. But there is a twist to this business strategy, while they keep doing retail they are reinventing it with key technological components that changed the entire entertainment experience. Their betting shops, as their customers call them, include a large cinematic screen with surround sound to watch the sports games the bettor just made a bet on.

“We believe that LBO customers are looking for an entertaining and engaging experience, ranking convenience as their main reason to bet in LBOs per se and location and customer service as the key reasons for choosing a particular LBO. We have focused on the quality of our customer service, our product range – particularly in football – and technology innovations to bring customers an attractive and differentiated offering.” – William Hill CFO

So when you ask yourself the question if you should change with the new wave or remain with the old way of doing things, the answer will always be to stick with what you do best, but modify to appeal the remaining market share that will just get bigger as your competitors move away.