Royal Baby and mobiles lift William Hill

Company revenues for the first half rose 20 per cent to £751.6 million

The nation might have successfully bet on George being the Royal Baby’s name, but he didn’t have red hair and wasn’t the girl they expected — helping bookie William Hill make a profit on its royal betting book.

“There was a lot of interest in the sex of the child and weight of the baby, most people were coming in were favouring a girl,” said chief executive Ralph Topping. “They got that one wrong, and the colour of its hair, too, a lot of people bet on red . We took £400,000 on the event, and made a small profit. Maybe we’ll send someone round to the palace to ask when they’re planning the next one so we can get the book ready.”

Revenues for the first half rose 20 per cent to £751.6 million, thanks to  a huge 198 per cent leap in mobile revenues. “It’s come from nowhere in the past few years and now makes up 40 per cent of our turnover,” Topping said. 

“We’re doing well all over the place, even in retail — up 11 per cent, and that’s despite the Government’s new machine game tax. Next year is our 80th birthday, not bad for a traditional High Street operation, I doubt many others have survived that long.”

Online revenues jumped 18 per cent, after Hill spent £424 million taking full control of its booming internet operation this spring. Pre-tax profit was flat at £143.6 million.

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