William Hill's legacy IT slowing race to be web frontrunner

Continuing problems with a legacy in-house betting platform have led William Hill to say it is still having trouble matching its competitors online.

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Continuing problems with a legacy in-house betting platform have led William Hill to say it is still having trouble matching its competitors online.

The bookmaker said it was working to replace the platform by November, as planned. It said in February that it had made a mistake developing its own e-commerce platform, called NextGen, and began ripping out the “inflexible” technology to replace it with a system from supplier Orbis, already used by rivals Ladbrokes, Paddy Power and the Tote.

Its online business, called Sportsbook, saw a 10 percent year-on-year fall in gross wins in the six months to 31 July, even though more videos online, better client management and more effective promotions had helped maintain and attract new business.

The company said in a statement that Sportsbook “continues to be adversely impacted by its legacy technology platform, which puts it at a disadvantage to competitor sites”.

“In January 2008, we agreed heads of terms to purchase the ORBIS technology platform as part of our strategy to address the under-performance of the Sportsbook,” it added. “ORBIS is the industry-leading platform and once implemented, will allow us to overcome our current technology disadvantage and give us a market-leading platform, which we can exploit going forward.”

The group’s overall interactive business wins grew from £62 million to £67.6 million in the period, while operating profit slipped £400,000 to £27.7 million as the costs of running the channel grew 21 percent. The number of interactive accounts were just below the half a million mark at 499,000.

The company booked a £2.5 million impairment and reorganisation charge for moving away from the legacy platform and restructuring its interactive division staff, following on from a £21 million charge during 2007. Its operating profit fell 10 percent to £145 million.

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