(Bloomberg) -- Not everyone in England is despairing at their team’s World Cup exit. For the country’s bookmakers, defeat to Croatia in Wednesday’s semi-final averted a potential multi-million pound payout.

Before the tournament, companies such as Paddy Power Betfair Plc and William Hill Plc were offering odds of 16-1 on England lifting the trophy on July 15. A rush of patriotic wagers and the team’s advance had left them facing liabilities running to “tens of millions” of pounds, according to Simon Clare, a spokesman for Coral, the bookmaker acquired this year by GVC Holdings Plc.

With such an outcome avoided, odds compilers breathed a sigh of relief on Thursday. Shares of GVC rose as much as 2.5 percent to a record high, while Paddy Power Betfair gained as much as 3.4 percent and William Hill rose 1.7 percent.

To contact the reporter on this story: Paul Jarvis in London at pjarvis@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Celeste Perri at cperri@bloomberg.net, Beth Mellor, John Viljoen

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