William Hill in lift from online betting profit

BOOKMAKER William Hill has said its annual operating profits are set to be at the top end of forecasts.

It reported strong revenue growth in the final three months of 2010, in part thanks to a big jump in online business.

Web-related revenue grew by a quarter compared with a year earlier, while retail revenue rose by eight per cent despite the bad weather over the Christmas period.

The bookmaker said full-year operating profits would be about £275m, up from £258.6m in 2009.

Chief executive Ralph Topping said: “This is a strong performance and I am delighted that, in particular, our online business and the gaming machines in our shops continue to see encouraging revenue growth during [the period].

“Our continual technological developments in what is a fast-changing industry have underpinned growth.”

The group added that it would now be closing its telephone business in the UK in February, having previously said it would do so in the fourth quarter of 2010.

William Hill said in June last year, it would be establishing a new telephone betting operation offshore in Gibraltar.