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William Hills reports upturn in over-the-counter betting


Bookmakers experiences 11 percent increase in final quarter

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Bookmakers William Hill benefitted from an upturn in bets placed over-the-counter and money taken from its gambling machines towards the end of last year.

The company reported 11 percent growth in bets made in its stores for the fourth quarter of 2011 compared with 2010, and a 7% rise in profits from its gambling machines.

Chief executive Ralph Topping told Reuters that the company was predicting a “challenging consumer backdrop”. However, he added, “overall performance shows we've seen the benefit of being a predominantly low ticket leisure activity".

The performance contrasted with weak performances from British retailers who have struggled to negotiate tough trading conditions.

Shares in William Hill, which have outperformed the FTSE All Share Travel & Leisure Index by over 40 percent in the past year, were up 5.9 percent to 222p this morning, the top riser in the mid-cap index .

"The group's exposure to the 'low ticket leisure activity' of sports betting has helped it to perform steadily in a tough year and it will continue to invest for the future," said Langton Capital analyst Mark Brumby.

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William Hills reports upturn in over-the-counter betting
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