Paddy Power saw profits slump 20 per cent in the first half of the year as football and racing punters took the Irish bookmaker to the cleaners.
The Dublin-based group said pre-tax profits fell to 61.8 million euros (£49.2m) in the six months to June 30 because favourites won Premier League matches in January and March, while racing punters backed winners at the Epsom Derby and Royal Ascot.
Revenues slipped 7 per cent to 396.5 million euros (£315.7m), compared to a year ago.
But the group, which has 305 shops in the UK, said it had a good World Cup, which saw it add 148,000 online customers and attract 198 million euros (£158m) in stakes, 130 per cent up on the 2010 tournament.
It also boosted its number of online customers by a quarter to 1.8 million, and saw stakes on its digital platforms rise 22 per cent to 1.4 billion euros (£1.1 bn).
Paddy Power said in January and March favourite teams in the Premier League won 64 per cent of their games, compared to 53 per cent on average.