The CEO of William Hill is betting that US lawmakers will soon open the door for legalized sports betting, and he has his company in a position to capitalize.
In a conference call discussing the company’s earnings, Philip Bowcock revealed that William Hill has already spent “mid-to-high single-digit” millions of dollars in anticipation of a favorable ruling in the Supreme Court when it comes to wagering on sports.
The bookmaker is poised for a full on assault on the American market from the minute the judgement is handed down.
Who’s Up First?
Bowcock made it clear that if the Supreme Court does open the gates for individual states to allow sports betting, then the US will become their top priority. The company has already indicated as much when it sold its Australian assets earlier this year in an effort to free up financial capital.
William Hill is now busy putting a plan of attack in place, focusing on the states it believes will move first on sports betting. Bowcock was forthcoming in his vision of how things will play out on the early days of legalization, according to Legal Sports Report.
“Where we stand at the moment, we know that Delaware will go almost immediately because that is sort of quasi-type sports betting at the moment. They take parlays, which in our parlance are accumulators. So that’s quite an easy move.
Clearly New Jersey will go very soon afterwards and the likes of Mississippi and West Virginia will likely go quite quickly at the moment as well.” – Bowcock
However, it’s not as simple as guessing which states will regulate sports betting first, it’s also a matter of figuring out how they’ll regulate it. Bowcock disclosed that a lot of the money they’re investing is going towards the need for different technology in every state.
“Each state is like a different country, so it’s going to have almost its own technology. Because the regulations will be different in each state, we’ll likely have to have a call center in each state as well for customer services. We’re looking at how that would set up.”
Friends With Benefits
The William Hill brand is already well known in Nevada and Delaware, and those markets have in turn been beneficial to the bookmaker.
Sure, there have a been a few bumps along the way, such as the controversy and confusion surrounding a prop bet involving Baker Mayfield at the NFL Draft. But US bettors are clearly fans of the brand. A quarterly financial report revealed that William Hill’s net revenues in the US surged by 45 percent year over year, while the total number of sports bets being placed on their platform increased by 17 percent.
Most observers expect that the Supreme Court will eventually sanction a betting breakthrough in the US. However, nothing is guaranteed, making William Hill’s gamble a bit of a risky one. However, if they’re right, it’s one that could pay off in a big way.
A ruling on PASPA could happen as quickly as next week, or as late as the end of June.