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UK: World Cup boost for bookmakers William Hill with 20million bets laid

10:40 01 August 2014

William Hill benefited from World Cup wagers

William Hill benefited from World Cup wagers

Bookmaker William Hill enjoyed a World Cup boost with betting 80% up on the last tournament in 2010 on a like-for-like basis.

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Punters laid 20.2 million wagers worth £227 million on the summer football tournament, the group said.

Online betting on the World Cup tripled compared with the 2010 event, with 60% of wagers made via mobile devices.

Hills said the most bet-on match was the final, with a million wagers and £10 million staked, as Germany beat Argentina.

Meanwhile, a 22-year-old student in Cheshire won £240 with an 80p bet for Germany to be leading 5-0 at half-time in their semi-final with Brazil, at odds of 300/1.

The World Cup helped Hills lift revenues by 7% to £805.2 million for the 26 weeks ended July 1. Operating profit fell 2% by £176.9 million but this was better than expectations.

The decline reflected unfavourable results for the bookmaker especially in the first quarter, the company said.

Online sports betting revenue rose 41%, while gaming turnover also saw double- digit growth.

It is the first set of results announced by new chief executive James Henderson as he takes over from Ralph Topping who spent 44 years at the company, six of them as boss.

The sector is facing pressure over controls on betting shops and gaming machines. Shares slipped earlier this year as bookies were hit with a surprise hike in gaming machine duty in the Budget.

Mr Henderson said diversifying strategy helped to mitigate the risk. The company said 52% of operating profits now come from digital channels and 17% of revenues from international markets.

The chief executive said: “I will be looking hard at how we can continue to create shareholder value in developing a focused but internationally orientated gambling group.”

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