Online gambling boosts William Hill’s profits

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William Hill, Britain’s largest bookmaker, said it was on track to meet its full year targets after first half profit before tax rose 13 per cent to £143.3m, in line with forecasts.

The company is best known for its chain of 2,370 betting shops in Britain, but is expanding overseas and like has a growing online and mobile business.

Chief executive Ralph Topping said online was delivering outstanding growth and that mobile was also outperforming expectations.

“Our rapidly growing mobile business increased to 22 per cent of our online sports betting turnover and 11 per cent of gaming net revenue in the first half,” said Mr Topping.

“With further innovation to come, the group is in good shape and the board remains confident of its expectations for the full year.”

Favourable results at key events such as the Grand National and the Cheltenham Festival also helped revenues climb 11 per cent to £627.8m in the six months to June 30.

The online business saw profits rise 23 per cent to £68.9m after a 30 per cent jump in revenues.

William Hill generates more than 90 per cent of its revenues in Britain but is seeking to expand overseas where markets are liberalised.

It recently completed the acquisition of three US businesses in the state of Nevada and is one of a number of companies to take licences in Spain in June.

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.