William Hill reports growth in business

William Hill has reported a strong third quarter after seeing “little evidence” of its business being affected by the economic slowdown.

The group says its total gross win (the amount accrued from losing bets) rose 9% in the 15 weeks to 14 October, leading to a 5% gain for 2008 to date. Over-the-counter business rose by 7% in the third quarter, largely due to favourable sports results.

The bookmaker is to bolster its online business and has bought parts of gambling software company, Playtech. It will supply William Hill Online with casino, poker and other gaming products in exchange for a 29% stake in the operation. William Hill holds an option to buy out Playtech’s holding in four or six years time.

The Playtech deal comes after William Hill abandoned an upgrade of its internet betting operation a year ago. William Hill chief executive Ralph Topping says the agreement with Playtech is a “transformational” step for the company.

Topping adds that he is “satisfied” with the group’s trading in the third quarter and says the business is “not recession proof, but recession resilient”.

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