Bumper profit haul at William Hill

THE success of 66-1 outsider Auroras Encore in this year’s Grand National helped boost profits at William Hill.

The betting firm cited an “exceptional” result in the Aintree meeting as one of the highlights of the first half of the year when a surge in punters betting online and via mobile phone also contributed to a better-than-expected result.

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The bookmaker saw amounts wagered using its mobile sports app increase by 112 per cent after it was downloaded more than a million times since its launch in February last year. Chief executive Ralph Topping, who began his career with the company at one of its shops in Glasgow, said: “We have continued the momentum in online. The shift to mobile sports gaming is an important development and we have invested significant resources in getting the business fully prepared to accelerate this opportunity.”

Pre-tax earnings before exceptional items were up 4 per cent to £156.2 million while net revenues rose by a fifth to £751.6m.