BOOKIES DOWN ON LUCK AS PROFITS FALL - Sunday 30th of August 2009

BOOKMAKER William Hill yesterday said the Open golf, Wimbledon and the Ashes had hit the company hard – declaring full-year profits were likely to fall below City expectations.

Chief executive Ralph Topping said ­customer numbers had fallen because punters had spent weekends at home watching sport rather than going to the bookies during July.

He added the quality of horse racing was also poor, with weak fields at big flat-racing events, such as the King George V Stakes at Ascot. Combined with the economic uncertainty, Topping said profits from the group’s 2,300 High Street bookies were likely to be “lower than previously expected”.

The shares fell 18¼p to 168p.

Topping was speaking as the group said pretax profit fell from £111million to £91million for the first half to June, partly because of downturn in football business.

There was no major tournament this year, while the same period in 2008 was boosted by the European Championships.

“We have shown resilience in the first half,” he said, adding the group’s online betting revenues had risen by 37 per cent, driving group revenues up by 5 per cent to £515.5million.

The company confirmed plans to move its internet operations to Gibraltar to take advantage of lower tax rates.

Topping said the group might also look to transfer telephone betting off shore, although there are no plans to reincorporate the whole business in a lower tax country.

“We moved the online betting for good, operational reasons. We are paying 17 times more tax in the UK than we will be in Gibraltar,” he said. He said William Hill will still pay UK corporation taxes, but said various gambling taxes in this country were having an impact on the company’s ability to compete.

William Hill said 75 staff will transfer to Gibraltar, with 30 taking redundancy. It paid £300million in UK taxes last year.

Other news from around the same time

Trump set to regain control of his Atlantic City casinos - Thursday 27th of August 2009

The ex-owner of the Trump casinos is set to become their new owner.Winning the companys backing, Don....


Atlantis boss open to Bahamians gambling in casino - Tuesday 11th of August 2009

With the Atlantis Resort & Casino suffering a downturn in business, President and Managing Director ....


Mayor told think again over casino - Sunday 9th of August 2009

AYOR Nick Bye is being urged to drop the idea of a new casino for Torquay amid claims it may be put ....


Casino guidelines are laid down - Friday 14th of August 2009

Business owners hoping to win a licence to operate a casino in Hull will have to meet a set of crite....


Forest drop gambling logo from kids replica shirts - Friday 21st of August 2009

NOTTINGHAM Forest are taking the logo of sponsor Victor Chandler off childrens replica shirts to avo....


Treasury is our biggest problem, says Rank - Thursday 6th of August 2009

Casino and Mecca bingo owner Rank has said the biggest challenge the company faces is the "volatile ....


Mystery surrounds prospects for Casino Red site - Tuesday 28th of July 2009

A £5m CASINO in Huddersfield town centre remains deserted – eight months after it closed with the lo....


Goa hikes entry fees to casinos ten times - Tuesday 28th of July 2009

In a bid to dissuade youths from visiting off shore casinos, the Goa Government on Friday increased ....


Time to say no more to bookmakers demands over fixture list - Tuesday 28th of July 2009

Racing has donned blinkers in a recession and the result could be calamitous. Its key revenue stream....


Holland Casino Installs SlotTimer from Gaming Support to Save Money on its Slot Operations - Tuesday 28th of July 2009

Gaming Support announced today that it has reached a definitive sales agreement with Holland Casino ....