Online gaming and betting is a fast-moving, growing business. William Hill was one of the earliest to enter the market, accepting our first bets on the internet in 1998, and we are the most profitable online betting operation in the UK, with over one million active online customer account holders. Our online business caters for all gambling and gaming customers, offering casino, poker, bingo, a range of skill games and, of course, sports betting. In 2008 we implemented two major developments with our online business: the launch of a new Sportsbook with technology provider Orbis, and a transformational deal with gaming software company, Playtech, to create our new online business, William Hill Online. This deal made William Hill Online one of the leading European online gaming and sports betting businesses.
In the second half of 2009, we successfully completed the extensive integration of William Hill Online. In 2010, William Hill Online achieved a strong 24% growth in net revenue and a 22% increase in operating profit. New accounts grew by 22% and unique active players increased by 4%. We will continue to strengthen our competitive position by further developing a market-leading Sportsbook and providing a high-quality gaming experience.
Our betting shops are a familiar fixture on many high streets. We are the largest UK operator with around 2, 370 shops throughout the UK and Ireland, representing around 25% of the market, throughout the UK and Ireland. Over-the-counter betting and gaming machines in our shops account for approximately 75% of William Hill's annual gross win and we continue to innovate to grow the business. Most of our shops are now open for over 12 hours a day and offer real-time sports information, coverage and results through satellite links, a range of numbers bets drawn every day, and gaming machines.
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