Aintree and Six Nations perfect encore for William Hill

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Bookmaker William Hill said a lucrative Six Nations, won by Wales, helped offset a poor Cheltenham festival last month.

The group hailed a “successful” start to 2013 after enjoying its best ever result at this year’s Grand National when 66-1 outsider Auroras Encore won at Aintree.

The firm said the Grand National results, which came after the end of its first quarter, even surpassed its record win on the 2009 race when Mon Mome romped home at 100-1.

The group also benefited from football results after the Champions League saw no English teams in the quarter final for the first time since 1996.

The group reported an eight per cent jump in earnings in the first three months of 2013 after net revenues rose 15 per cent, with its online operations the star performing division once more.

Sporting bets made online were higher than that spent “over the counter” in its high street betting shops throughout the first quarter, with increasing numbers of bets made through its mobile apps.

It said its app was downloaded 45,000 times on Grand National day and 51,000 times during the Cheltenham Festival.

William Hill’s figures have left Ladbrokes trailing behind after its rival warned earlier this week that annual profits would be at the bottom end of City forecasts following a difficult quarter.

Ladbrokes reported a £13m drop in profits to £37.4m in the three months to March 31, including £6m in lost revenues after a good week for punters at Cheltenham.

William Hill has been reaping the benefits of a burgeoning internet offering, with first quarter online revenues up by more than a fifth in the first three months of the year and earnings up 13 per cent. Mobile sportsbook bets jumped 145 per cent higher.

William Hill employs more than 15,000 people, including around 3,000 staff in Yorkshire, of which more than 1,100 are based in Leeds, where the company has two offices.

Operations, human resources and marketing are all based in Leeds, while trading and IT for the whole group are also in the city.

The company also has a call centre in Sheffield.