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America Set to Welcome William Hill as New Kids on the Block

  • 03 Jul 12
  • Written by Deena Chance

altOne of the UK’s biggest gambling operators, William Hill, has recently been granted permission to operate in the American state of Nevada, giving them their first opportunity to try to conquer the US market.

As one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations for casino and gambling lovers, Las Vegas is due to offer William Hill PLC several new land-based homes. The company has been awarded a non-restricted gaming licence, which is the highest licence available to operators in Nevada.

It now has plans to complete the acquisition process of three Nevada and Delaware-based sports-betting businesses under a lucrative $55m deal. American Wagering Inc., Club Cal Neva and Brandywine Bookmaking are due to be taken over imminently by the British bookmakers. If all goes according to plan, approximately two-thirds of Las Vegas bookies will be under the control of William Hill, with re-branding taking place in due course. Quite whether the local inhabitants and Elvis impersonators will get “All Shook Up” over the impending British invasion has yet to be seen…

The company’s Chief Executive, Ralph Topping, stated that he was understandably “proud” of their achievement in having obtained the Nevada Gaming Commission’s highest seal of approval, and is looking forward to creating a “leading position in the US sports betting market.” The hat-trick of businesses that are included in the acquisition process are already well-established in the area, and are known for providing a trusted service; therefore, the British bookmaker hopes to continue to grow that existing level of service, popularity and consumer confidence over the coming year.

The William Hill Bingo Parent Company currently owns more than 2,370 licensed betting premises in the UK, making it the country’s largest bookmaker, which employs around 16,000 staff, across its online and land-based ventures. Having originally started life in 1934 as a postal and telephone betting service that was named after its name-sake and founding member, the company relied on building an honest and trustworthy reputation with its customers. After physical betting shops were legalised in 1961, they moved with the times and soon became one of the best-known names in the industry. In 1998, they became one of the first UK operators to offer an online service, known as the Sportsbook, and over the course of the following years, went on to create a successful casino, bingo, poker, and most recently mobile, network of websites.

Current legislation issues in the States aside, we wonder if Will Hill has now paved the way for the competition, it will be interesting to see whether other UK power-brands such as Gala Coral, and Irish big guns, PaddyPower, will follow suit by hedging their bets on a State-side expansion, or whether it’ll be a case of finders keepers, losers weepers.


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