Punters have taken William Hill to the cleaners on soccer results, driving a 14 per cent fall in the bookmaker's first quarter profit.
Hill said major wins for football punters led to two substantial loss-making weeks in the first three months of the year, hitting its gross win margins after a good performance last year.
The unfavourable run of results, which included an unusually high number of odds-on favourites winning in each of the two weeks, led to a 14% fall in operating profit during the period.
It came despite good growth in wagering in Hill's online and retail businesses and significantly improved gaming in both channels.
Hill pointed to more upbeat long-term trends such as an increasing number of people using mobile phones to bet.
Chief Executive Ralph Topping said: "We are also progressing successful diversification of the business both online and internationally, including delivering further good growth in Italy, Spain and the US.
"With most of the major components of the digital Australian platform now in place, we will be driving further improvements in that business's performance as well."
He added that there was no guarantee Hill could make up the losses from the two weeks, but added: "The increased customer confidence from such wins should be good for business, especially in this World Cup year.
"We are very well placed to take advantage of the World Cup opportunity, coming in the second quarter, with an unrivalled football product range, the most downloaded Sportsbook app in the UK and a leading mobile gaming offer for cross-sell."
Education and Financial Times publisher Pearson said first quarter sales had taken a hit from currency volatility, fuelling an expected drop in first-half profits against the same time a year ago.
Pearson said headline sales in the first three months of 2014 had fallen 6% due to the strength of sterling against the US dollar
and key emerging market currencies.
It said the currency headwinds would contribute to an expected fall in first-half adjusted operating profit and adjusted earnings per share compared to 2013.
It also blamed costs linked to the integration of book publisher Penguin with Random House, the disposal of financial news service Mergermarket, the later phasing of exam marking in the UK and the timing of exams and restructuring charges in North America.
The group said it was proposing a final dividend of 32p, giving a total dividend for 2013 of 48p, up 7%.
Pearson's Chief Executive John Fallon said: "Pearson has had a solid start to the year, in line with our expectations. Our major programme of restructuring and investment is on-track and will drive a leaner, more cash generative, faster growing business from 2015."