he company described itself as in "good shape" and looking to expand, with a focus on the United States in particular. The company is hoping to pre-empt legislative changes that could see online gaming legalized in several countries, Reuters noted in the report.
The company, which has over 2,370 betting shops and takes over one million bets a day, said operating profit for the year to December 27 totalled us$ 437.1 million, compared with us$ 438.9 million the year before. The previous year's performance was boosted by the soccer World Cup.
William Hill said in January it expected to report an operating profit for 2011 of around us$ 434.4 million. "This is a very positive performance, particularly in a year without a significant international football tournament and with a us$ 14.2 million increase in VAT payments as a result of the rate change," Chief Executive Ralph Topping said in a statement, referring to a 2.5 per cent rise in sales tax last year.
Topping said the company will seek to invest selectively to expand outside of Britain over the coming years. "We believe there are more opportunities to grow in our core market in the UK and also for the business to expand internationally beyond our traditional roots as more governments open up their regulated gambling markets," he said.