Betfred owner purchases three per cent share in rival bookmaker William Hill

Fred Done is still vigorously driving his betting shop empire at the age of 76
Fred Done: has purchased a three per cent stake in William HillCredit: Edward Whitaker

Betfred owner Fred Done has bought a three per cent stake in rival bookmaker William Hill, saying he believes Hills are in pole position to exploit the burgeoning United States sports betting market.

Shares in William Hill fell with the rest of the market on Monday morning but climbed sharply on the back of the news, at one point rising 4.55p above their closing price on Friday, before falling once more by around three per cent to 129.45p on Monday afternoon.

European betting operators have increasingly focused on the opportunity in the US since the Supreme Court struck down the legislation which limited sports betting to a handful of states in 2018.

Done said: “I’ve bought Hills shares because they are massively undervalued and in my opinion when it comes to the US they are front-runners.”

He would not be drawn on whether he planned to further increase his stake in William Hill.

William Hill take one in every four sports bets placed in the United States, with net revenue in the US increasing by 38 per cent last year according to Hills' financial results released last month.

They also said they expect to break even in the US this year.

Betfred themselves have agreements in place to offer sports betting with casinos in Colorado, Iowa and Pennsylvania.

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Industry editor

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