William Hill share price dives as it takes a punt on lottery software maker NeoGames

Emma Haslett
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The bookies posted pre-tax profits down 35 per cent (Source: Getty)

Shares in bookies William Hill fell almost 5.5 per cent to 388.3p this morning, after it revealed it had taken a gamble on online lottery software maker NeoGames, spending $25m (£16m) on a 29.4 per cent stake.

Luxembourg-based NeoGames is a "pioneer of online scratch cards", William Hill said, but has moved into online lotteries.

The bookies announced the deal as it posted disappointing figures showing pre-tax profits fell 35 per cent to £78.7m in the six months to the end of June. Net revenues remained flat at £808m, while basic earnings per share fell 30 per cent to 7.9p.

The company said this morning it had the option to buy the remaining stake in NeoGames after either three or five years.

This morning, William Hill chief executive said the business provided an "exciting new opportunity".

"NeoGames is a disruptive technology operator offering customers a great experience and lottery rights holders a compelling alternative to established retail lottery operators."

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