A winning streak by punters betting on football and horseracing is set to trim profits at bookmaker William Hill.
Joy for punters has spelt misery for the bookies
In a trading update, William Hill said the second half of 2004 saw it "adversely affected" by unfavourable horseracing and football results.
But it said income from the fixed-odds gambling machines in its betting shops would help to offset falls elsewhere.
The firm is predicting an annual profit of about £232m ($435m) for 2004, a 15% increase on 2003's figure.
William Hill operates 1,600 betting shops and also offers telephone and internet gambling.
Last week, Stanley Leisure reported that it had also been having a tough time in the past few months in horseracing and football betting.
William Hill said it had been hit by "less favourable" horseracing results compared with the first half of the year, and "significantly poorer results in respect of domestic and international football since the start of the current season".
However, the growth in the number of fixed-odds betting machines in its shops has helped to stabilise income, William Hill said.
"Roughly a third of the group's gross win is now derived from 5,500 fixed odds betting terminals in the retail estate, online casino, poker and arcade sites, and virtual and traditional numbers products," it said.
William Hill shares closed up 15.5 pence at 561p.