August 1, 2014 / 6:37 AM / 3 years ago

William Hill gets boost from World Cup betting

LONDON, Aug 1 (Reuters) - William Hill, Britain's largest bookmaker, said betting on the soccer World Cup this year had increased by 80 percent from the last time the tournament was played.

Strong betting on the month-long soccer tournament helped to offset the impact of unfavourable sports results earlier in the year, the company said on Friday.

Revenue rose 7 percent to 805 million pounds ($1.36 billion) in the 26 weeks to July 1, while operating profit dipped by 2 percent to 177 million. Both figures were slightly ahead of consensus forecasts.

As announced last month, company insider James Henderson took over as chief executive on Friday, replacing Ralph Topping who has been with the business for four decades and had held the top job since 2008.

"I will be looking hard at how we can continue to create shareholder value in developing a focused but internationally orientated gambling group," Henderson said in a statement.

Henderson steps up when the gambling sector is facing financial and regulatory pressures, with the British government tightening controls on betting shops and increasing taxes on online gambling and high stakes gambling machines. ($1 = 0.5925 British Pounds) (Reporting by Keith Weir; editing by James Davey)

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