William Hill US announced a major expansion of its sports betting products in the U.S. market saying has signed sports betting agreements with11 casinos in Mississippi and a casino partner in West Virginia.
The company said it is also in discussions with operators about sports betting deals in another fourteen states.
Subject to regulatory approvals, William Hill said in a press release it will provide sports betting risk management services and its proprietary technology for both retail and on-premises mobile sports betting to the following casinos: Hard Rock Casino Hotel & Casino Biloxi, Island View Casino Resort (Gulfport), Palace Casino (Biloxi), Treasure Bay Casino (Biloxi) and WaterView Casino (Vicksburg), in addition to six other casinos in Mississippi.
All of the properties are expected to be offering live sports books by the end of August pending granting of licenses, the release said.
William Hill did not announce its casino partner in West Virginia, but said it will provide retail and mobile/online sports betting when that state begins ports betting.
William Hill is already offering sports betting operations in Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey and a race book in Iowa. William Hill has also combined forces with IGT for the Rhode Island Lottery Sports Betting RFP. If IGT is awarded the contract, William Hill will supply its operational expertise, risk management, and trading data to support the operation of sports betting in the state, the release said.
“It has been an excellent start for us since PASPA was overturned,” said William Hill CEO Philip Bowcock. “We have built on our existing business in Nevada which is 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 14 states and they are doing a tremendous job.”
The announcement came as the company was making bleak projections about its UK business in the face of cuts to the maximum bet allowed on fixed odds betting terminals. The UK plans to cut the maximum stake allowed for betting on FOBTs from £100 to £2.
William Hill recently said the cuts could cause it to close 900 betting shops and putting 4,500 jobs at risk.
The bookmaker reported a loss of £820m in the first six months of the year, saying the plan to cut FOBT stakes—which has not yet been implemented—forced it to record a £915 million accounting charge. After that cost, the company made a £96 million profit, down 13 percent on last year.
William Hill warned that the cut in stakes will reduce its high street revenues by up to 45 percent and make 38 percent of its shops unprofitable.
Bowcock said the company is looking to the US market to offset the losses and that it could eventually become larger than the UK market.
“In time, yes, depending on regulation, our US business could be bigger than the UK,” he said in a stock update with reporters. “The US population is seven times that of the UK and they like to gamble more, I think. Gambling is seen as part of everyday life. You’re not a social pariah if you enjoy it.”