By Daniel Hunter

Shares in the bookmaker William Hill fell by as much as 5.8% in early trading after its financial update was leaked 11 hours early.

The betting firm said an administrative error caused the market-sensitive information to be published ahead of schedule, revealing a 7% fall in profits for the final quarter of 2014.

The email containing the results was emailed to analysts. But it was not sent by William Hill's PR firm, Brunswick, which usually handles its financial reports. Neither William Hill or Brunswick agreed to reveal whose fault it was.

William Hill said it suffered a “difficult start to the new year” thanks to “unfavourable football results”.

Despite the fall in the last three months of the year, William Hill expects full-year profits to be up 11% to £371m. Online gaming revenues look set to be up 86%.

James Henderson, chief executive, said: "In Q4, generally weaker sporting results in December impacted our revenue progression, as did a very tough November comparative, but gaming continued to grow. In particular, Boxing Day — one of the busiest days in our year — was a very good day for the customer with all but one of the top 10 football favourites winning that day.

"Notwithstanding a difficult start to the new year with highly unfavourable football results, we remain in a strong position going into 2015."

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