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William Hill wins with World cup

Article Published: Wednesday 2 August 2006

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The World Cup generated £17.5m gross profit for the betting group with £10.7m coming in the final week of June when England reached the quarter finals.

William Hill reported that pretax profits rose 22.9% from £108.6m to £133.5m. This excludes exceptionals, which knocked £7.2m off last year’s figure.

In the four weeks to 25 July, the group's gross win has increased by 13.3% in line with management expectations as the period included the completion of the World Cup and comparative figures in July 2005 were weak. Hill reckons that about half the gross win from the World Cup was diverted from other betting and half was extra cash.

The initial signs, however, were not that promising, admitted chief executive David Harding. The tournament started badly for bookies - 20 of the first 24 games were won by the favourite

"There's nothing you can do about that," said Mr Harding. "You just have to sit there like a boxer on the ropes and take it. It's always a white-knuckle ride."

The wins, however, quickly gave way to some draws - such as the England v Sweden match, which paid out handsomely for William Hill. "Most people will bet on a team to win," Mr Harding said. "It's not a lot of fun sitting there praying for a 0-0 draw."


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