William Hill suffers loss; high hopes from world Cup

British betting group William Hill announced on Friday that this summer’s World Cup in South Africa will be the ‘event of the century’ for the betting industry.

William Hill suffered a fall of 59 per cent in pre-tax profit to 120.9 million pounds in 2009 due to low number of draws in the Premier League, while its telephone business slipped by 1.8 million pounds during the same period.

William Hill’s net revenue was reported at 997.9 million pounds, up 4 per cent, while online revenue grew 63 per cent to settle at 203.5 million pounds.

"We ran at a loss because we had a high roller who took us for £5m,"

However, Ralph Topping, chief executive of the bookmaker, expects a boost from the summer World Cup in South Africa, especially if England performs well.

The London-based company added that it closed some stores in Ireland and was reviewing its operations in the country.

Shares in William Hill gained 0.4 pence to 195 pence-a-share.