International bookmaker William Hill has signed agreements that will make it the market leader in Mississippi sports betting, and there could be more company expansion in the cards.
William Hill has agreed to provide sports betting services for 11 casinos in Mississippi, including the Hard Rock Casino in Biloxi and Island View Casino Resort in Gulfport, while also inking deals in West Virginia and with other casino gaming companies.
Under the terms of the agreements, William Hill will provide its partners risk management services and technology for both brick-and-mortar and mobile sports betting. All are subject to regulatory approval from the state, though properties are expecting to have their sportsbooks up and running by the end of August.
Headed Next to West Virginia
William Hill also announced that it had reached a deal with a casino partner in West Virginia, though a press release about these agreements did not name this operator. As in Mississippi, this partnership covers both mobile and retail betting solutions.
�We have had a great start in New Jersey and our team is working hard to launch our mobile product there, as well as getting ready to go live in Mississippi, West Virginia, and elsewhere,� William Hill US CEO Joe Asher said in a statement.
In addition, the announcement noted that William Hill US was �in advanced discussions� with operators to allow the company to expand into up to 14 more states, pending the legalization of sports betting in those markets.
Penn National Key to Will Hill’s US Expansion?
Speculation on that expansion has centered on Penn National Gaming as the potential partner for William Hill. While neither side has confirmed those rumors, UK business publication City A.M. has cited sources as saying that Penn National is indeed the operation, though that talks are still at an early stage.
Penn National is currently engaging in its own expansion effort, as it is expected to complete the purchase of Pinnacle Entertainment before the end of the year. That acquisition would give Penn National a presence in 18 states. Discounting the four where William Hill is already active, that would fit the �14 more states� that the company mentioned in their press release.
William Hill�s plans mirror those of other major players in the sports betting industry, as groups are attempting to establish as large a presence as possible in the United States as individual states being legalizing the practice.
Within the last week, FanDuel entered into a partnership with Boyd Gaming, while MGM Resorts paired up with GVC, the British group that owns Ladbrokes Coral and Sportingbet.
William Hill is ramping up its American efforts at a time when the company is facing some challenges back in the UK. With the maximum bet on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) set to be cut from �100 to �2, the bookmaker announced Friday that up to 900 of its betting shops could close, as revenues could drop by as much as 45 percent.