William Hill to Expand Sports Betting Empire
William Hill, the UK-based bookmaker, said on Friday that it has signed agreements with 12 casinos in the United States and is making plans with more operators. In addition to these talks, the company is also increasing jobs in Nevada and planning on more U.S. business. This announcement came just five days after GVC Holdings, one of William Hill’s biggest competitors, announced a $200 million joint venture with MGM Resorts International to open up legal sports betting in up to 15 states.
About William Hill
The company was founded in 1934 by William Hill when it was still illegal to gamble in Britain. The company now operates worldwide and employs around 16,600 people. The company offers phone and Internet betting in addition to licensed betting offices in UK. Outside the United Kingdom, the company expanded to Nevada in 2012 when it was the only state to allow sports wagering. The company bought three chains of sportsbooks, which it rebranded under the William Hill name. The company has many brands in other countries as well.
In a statement to Las Vegas Review-Journal, William Hill said it will offer mobile betting tech as well as sports betting risk management to 11 different casinos in Mississippi, and another partner, which has not yet been announced, in West Virginia.
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“The company is also in discussion with operators about sports betting deals what would cover a further 14 U.S. states.”
William Hill already has sports betting locations in Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware, and a racebook in Iowa. The company operates 107 books in Nevada and now has over 500 employees since boosting hiring in the Silver State since the end of 2017.
CEO of William Hill Philip Bowcock commented further about William Hill’s growth and expansion:
“We have built on our existing business in Nevada which is our number one and growing and in Delaware where we are risk manager for the entire state. We are now the early market leader in New Jersey where our mobile app will launch within weeks and we expect to be market leader in Mississippi with these eleven casino agreements. The team continues to engage in discussions that cover a further fourteen states and they are doing a tremendous job.”
William Hill US CEO Joe Asher said the company is building in anticipation of a lot more business, so there’s a lot of hiring taking place. They’ve been hiring for a variety of different departments ranging from human resources to compliance, technology, and bookmaking.
William Hill is also working with IGT for the Rhode Island Sports Betting RFP.
There’s no mention yet of the casino William Hill is partnering within other states, but it may be Penn National, since Eric Schippers, a senior VP for public affairs for Penn National, said the company is working with a potential partner to operate their sports book. If this is true, William Hill would gain an additional 14 states in which to offer sports betting. Right now, CG Technology runs the books at Tropicana and M Resort in Las Vegas, both Penn National’s, and there haven’t been any announcements of CG Technology running sports books for Penn National outside of Nevada.
Penn operates most of its casinos under the “Hollywood” brand, but in Nevada operates the Tropicana.
Gambling in Mississippi
Mississippi is among the small group of states that have so far legalized and implemented sports betting. It’s the only Southern state so far, which makes it the ideal state for William Hill US to expand into. Legal sports betting in Mississippi launched August 1, 2018. The Mississippi Gaming Commission will regulate and do all oversight on the industry. Gambling (sports and otherwise) is limited to water and land-based casinos in Mississippi. Right now, gambling is restricted to people present in a licensed casino. Mobile/online sports betting is allowed, but only on-site. Any wagering that takes place while the bettor is not on the grounds of a licensed casino is illegal. The legal gambling age in Mississippi is 21.
Gambling in West Virginia
As of this writing, West Virginia has not yet taken sports bets; however, it enacted a sports betting law in March of this year that has taken effect now that PASPA was repealed. Because West Virginia legislators acted in anticipation of the sports betting ban being overturned, they have a nearly finished product. We may see legal sports betting taking place in WV this fall. Regulators have said they want to have it ready for the 2018-2019 NFL season. You can expect William Hill to be up and running in WV as soon as possible.
Gambling in Delaware
Delaware was the first state to legalize sports betting outside of Nevada after the Supreme Court overturned PASPA, and William Hill was involved from the start. The first legal sports bet was placed June 5, by Governor John Carney, at the Dover Downs sportsbook. Two other casinos started accepting sports bets that day, and there are a few others in the works for that state.
Gambling in New Jersey
The governor of NJ signed sports gambling into law on June 11, 2018, and within a month, it was legal to place online betting, too. As the law stands, racetracks and casinos are allowed to form as many as three online partnerships each, but they have to have a physical sportsbook first, or at least have one under construction. Right now, six properties have retail sportsbooks. As for betting in brick-and-mortar casinos, there are several different places a bettor could go. Monmouth Park, in partnership with William Hill, opened the first sportsbook in New Jersey on June 14.
States Where Legal Sports Betting Legislation is Passed and Implemented
As mentioned above, there are only four states right now where you can go to place legal sports bets: Nevada, New Jersey, Delaware, and Mississippi.
States Where Bills Have Passed
So far there are four states where bills have been passed to legalize sports betting: New York, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. William Hill is already working on creating and growing relationships in these states.
States Where Bills Have Been Introduced But Not Passed
States that have introduced bills to the House but have not yet been passed include Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Iowa, Ohio, Connecticut, California, Montana, Kentucky, Maryland, Kansas, South Carolina, Oklahoma, and Louisiana. William Hill already has affiliations within some of these states and early rumors are that the company will look to set up shop in each of these states once they approve of their sports betting legislations.
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