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British bookmaker William Hill calling for lower taxes

British bookmaker William Hill calling for lower taxes The British bookmaker William Hill, operating both online and offline, posted grim first-half earnings today. Profits before finance charges and exceptionals fell 10pc to £145m, despite a 4pc rise in gross win to £516m, hit by poor results and the extra £5m costs of signing up to Turf TV - the new racecourse-backed betting shop television service. Pre-tax profits fell 18pc to £111m. The shares fell 11½ to 314½p. The weakest part of the business was telephone gambling, where profits fell by £5.3m to £4.5m, after the bookie was on the receiving end of £250,000 bets from big punters.

 William Hill's chief executive, Ralph Topping, is also calling on the British government to rethink the taxes imposed on the betting businesses. "We paid £267m in taxes last year plus £30m in levies to the horseracing and greyhound industries and employ 14,000 people. This business has to be allowed some room to grow. What I am saying to the Government is, please think things through from all angles. A 15pc gross profits tax on online gambling is not appropriate in this environment," Topping was quoted by the U.K. media. The William Hill CEO also said that the current taxation is making the unlicensed offshore bookmakers more competitive.

 Published on 07/31/2008

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