William Hill revenue dips on sport wins

Bookmaker William Hill yesterday reported a three per cent drop in third-quarter revenues after a punter-friendly season knocked results.<br /><br />Football results went against the bookies this August and September &ndash; by the end of last month there had been just four draws in the Premier League. Draws normally represent 25 per cent of outcomes.<br /><br />Most customers bet on wins, meaning bookmakers have had to pay out substantially more cash. The group said it estimates unfavourable sporting results reduced operating profit by &pound;7m in the third quarter. <br /><br />But the group, which runs 2,300 betting shops said its margins have now returned to normal levels.<br /><br />Chief executive Ralph Topping said: &ldquo;In what has, to date, been an extraordinary year for sporting results, football and horse racing affected us again in August and into September but margins have returned to more normal historic levels since then.&rdquo;<br /><br />Earlier this month rival betting firm Ladbrokes also reported a 15 per cent fall in revenue.<br /><br />The group&rsquo;s betting shops &ndash; which account for 80 per cent of its sales and profits &ndash; saw bets fall by 21 per cent year-on-year in the third quarter. This was also a four per cent drop in sales from the first half of the year. But online operations sports betting, casino games, poker and bingo continued to perform well, posting a 53 per cent rise in net revenue.