Shares in William Hill were up on the FTSE 250 in morning trading after the bookmaker reported a rise in net revenue and operating profit in the first quarter ended 29 March.

Group net revenue rose 11 per cent in the period, with retail net revenue up eight per cent and online net revenue increasing 26 per cent.

During the period the group said it had signed agreements to acquire two U.S. based companies, American Wagering, Inc. and the Club Cal Neva Satellite Race and Sportsbook Division for $39 million.

The group said it would be paying for the acquisitions from its reserves, adding that the acquisitions are likely to add to its earnings per share from the first full year after completion.

Turning to the policy of the coalition government, William Hill said its costs would rise by three to four million pounds thanks to the government's 50th Levy scheme on horseracing, which came into force this month.

In addition William Hill labelled a Lib Dem plan: which would see uncollected winnings from bookmakers used to fund grass roots sports; as "discriminatory" and "requiring primary legislation". The group argued that there is "no link between betting and grass-roots sport" and said that "no formal consultation has been held" on the policy.

Ralph Topping, Chief Executive of William Hill, said, "We have seen excellent growth across our business in the first quarter, enabling us to remain confident in our expectations for the full year. It is particularly pleasing that, alongside a continuing strong performance from William Hill Online, we have seen growth in both net revenue and Operating profit<sup>(1) in Retail. We have much to look forward to in the existing business and are also excited by the land-based opportunity in the US, where we recently made our first significant investment."

By 09:15 shares in William Hill were up 7.66 per cent on the FTSE 250 to 213.70 pence per share.