Shares in William Hill were down on the FTSE 250 in morning trading after the gambling group reported a rise in pre-tax profit in the half year ended 29 June.

Turnover was reported as increasing 12 per cent to £8.6 billion, while net revenue climbed three per cent to £529.9 million.

William Hill's online business saw a strong improvement, with net revenue rising 24 per cent to £124.2 million, however retail net revenue dropped one per cent to £389.8 million.

Pre-tax profit before exceptional items increased three per cent to £105.7 million, while pre-tax profit after exceptional items was up 13 per cent to £103 million.

The group said it would be holding its dividend at 2.5 pence per share.

During the half year period William Hill said that poor horseracing results offset what it called an "outstanding football World Cup".

Ralph Topping, Chief Executive of William Hill, said, "This is a positive first half performance, driven by William Hill Online and, in particular, a very strong Sportsbook. We had our best ever World Cup, far exceeding expectations. Despite turnover decline in OTC, overall Retail turnover and gross win were up, driven by an exceptionally good performance from machines. We have also completed the restructuring of the balance sheet, continued to invest to great effect in our people and have increased our focus on marketing and advertising.

"Looking ahead, we are on track to deliver against the Board's expectations for the full year but we remain cautious moving into 2011 given the ongoing consumer uncertainty particularly affecting Retail OTC. We are confident that our strategy of expanding William Hill Online both in the UK and internationally whilst continuing to manage Retail tightly will strengthen our competitive position as the economic backdrop improves."

By 11:00 shares in William Hill were down 0.42 per cent on the FTSE 250 to 166.20 pence per share.