Friday June 22, 2012 : WILLIAM HILL PLC SECURES NEVADA SPORTS BETTING LICENCE (Update)
British gambling group has a three-company foothold in the USA
Thursday's meeting of the Nevada Gaming Commission approved a traditional sports betting licence for William Hill plc, a British company that acquired three US gambling enterprises earlier this year in a $55 million investment in the US market .
Company spokesmen said the award was notable because it made William Hill the first British betting service to run a sports book in the state, offering sports betting on mobile devices to bettors in Nevada, and positioning the company strongly should legal restrictions on U.S. online gambling be lifted.
"Mobile gaming is the fastest growing part of our business, and this adds a new dimension for us," William Hill chief executive Ralph Topping told the Reuters news agency, revealing that just two years ago his company was taking in $1.5 million a week from mobile gamblers in the United Kingdom. Today, it handles $25 million a week.
Topping outlined his thinking on Nevada licensing, saying: "You’re better off having a presence in Nevada. Most people say it’s the platinum process you have to go through. You’re ready for anything that happens elsewhere in the U.S.”
The award of the licence this week fulfills requirements attached to Hills’ acquisition of three US companies, with the deal conditional on the British company obtaining a Nevada licence. One of the acquisitions, Brandywine Bookmaking, operates 17 sports books in Nevada and also runs the Delaware Sports Lottery with partner companies.
Topping said that his company intends to make more acquisitions, and has been approached by a number of American companies.
Reuters notes that online gambling provided 28 percent of William Hill's $1.7 billion revenues last year, according to company filings.