Britain's biggest operator of high street betting shops, William Hill , said on Thursday revenue growth slowed in the third quarter as the company came up against comparatives boosted by last year's soccer World Cup.

William Hill, which has some 2,350 betting shops and takes more than a million bets a day, said net revenue grew by 2 percent in the quarter and 5 percent in the year to date.

Retail net revenue decreased by 3 percent during the period and was flat in the year to date. Group operating profit was 22 percent lower in the period, reflecting the impact of the World Cup and favourable domestic soccer results last year. In the year to date, operating profit was down 3 percent.

William Hill benefited, however, from a sharp rise in online revenue which grew by 28 percent in the quarter and 25 percent in the year to date, driven by a number of product innovations and an increase in the number of in-play betting markets on offer.

We have delivered a solid performance in Q3, in spite of a highly competitive market place and a tough consumer environment, Chief Executive Ralph Topping said.

The company said its third quarter margin had been broadly in line with its long-term average for the quarter but below the unusually strong margin seen the previous year.

William Hill said it was on track to meet market expectations for the full year.

Forecasts for William Hill's full year earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) range between 254 million and 288 million pounds, with the average at 271 million, according to a Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S poll of 16 analysts.

(Reporting by Matt Scuffham; editing by Neil Maidment)