William Hillís online division doubles profits
By Linda
William Hill yesterday brought the beleaguered online gambling industry some welcome good news. The interactive division reported a 77.5% increase in turnover generated by its online casino and sportsbook.

The company's online sportsbook and casino raked in a combined £198m in sales for the six months to 2 July. Profit more than doubled to £29.3m.

In the build up to the World Cup, William Hill spent money on advertising and marketing in a bid to drive up the number of visitors to its site.

This led to a 'significant increase in online activity and higher than anticipated customer recruitment'. By 2 July the company had approximately 126,000 active accounts, 26% higher than at the start of the year.

Its casino customer account base grew to 44,000, up from 35,000 at the turn of the year.

The World Cup was something of a highlight, as many of the favourites crashed out and William Hill avoided large payouts. The company made £13m in profit on the World Cup alone.

However, horse racing this season has favoured the punters. Good weather supported form in the weeks since 2 July, and a series of favourites won horse races, something which caused shares to take a dive yesterday. It is expected that full-year profits may not be as rosy.

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