William Hill reports negative online results

William Hill reports negative online results

But the group will invest in IT to put the interactive division back on track

Gaming group William Hill saw poor performance by its interactive channel but further investment in IT is still on the cards.

Revenue for the division slumped by £10.7m to £119.8m and profit decreased by £10.6m to £50.9m during the period.

The group also eported an 11 per cent decrease in pre-tax profits to nearly £210m. But gross win, which represents what customers lose, rose by six per cent to £983.7m.

The inflexibility of the company's IT infrastructure was to blame.

"The limitations of our technology prevented us from matching the increasing number of betting opportunities available from our competitors," said a statement from William Hill.

Although the company hoped to start its IT overhaul last year, the NextGen project was scrapped because needed greater investment and take longer than originally envisaged.

The decision resulted in losses of £20.9m in the 2007 results and further charges of around £4m expected to be incurred in 2008.

But the company wants to repair the damage via investment in restructuring.

"This will be a transitional year for the interactive channel as we make the necessary investments to lay the foundations for future growth," said chairman Charles Scott.

"The most significant of these is the replacement of our interactive sportsbook technology system with a more flexible platform," he said.

The company's plans will also focus on exploiting the opportunities available to online gaming business, said Scott.