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William Hill US Presidential Bets in Vegas? Online Poker Too

Written by:
Aaron Goldstein
Published on:
Jul/04/2011
William Hill

Bloomberg News on Monday was reporting that the UK’s biggest bookmaker, William Hill, is betting it will be able to take wagers on the 2012 US Presidential race from those gamblers in Las Vegas along with bets on American Idol and, yes, even the Academy Awards. William Hill does not currently offering wagering for US citizens, but that could soon change.

williamhill.com

With over 2300 shops in the United Kingdom, William Hill is embarking on a massive expansion campaign that includes the purchase of Nevada-based sports-betting companies Brandywine Bookmaking LLC, American Wagering Inc. and Club Cal Neva.

As reporting here on Gambling911.com, Nevada regulators are set to begin permitting bets on political events such as the Presidential elections and entertainment events such as American Idol.

Will Hill Chief Executive Officer Ralph Topping said in an interview:  “Once we get the license, that makes us the USA’s biggest bookmaker, of the ones we know transacting legally.”

His ultimate aim is for William Hill’s bookmaker operations in Nevada to start taking sports wagers.

The so-called “novelty bets” generate only small amounts:  “(These) Wouldn’t be big bets. It’s small bets, it’s $1, $2-type bets.”

But in the case of the US Presidential elections and the Academy Awards, volume helps offset any small wager.

The 2008 US Presidential election was the most bet on nonsporting event ever while the Academy Awards is generally considered the biggest single day nonsporting event in terms of a yearly offering. 

“The numbers are staggering in terms of traffic,” notes Payton O’Brien, Senior Editor of the Gambling911.com website.  “We generally see traffic that is third after two other single day events, the Super Bowl and Kentucky Derby.”

Another big novelty wagering event, which some do consider a sport, is the annual 4th of July Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest.

"This too attracts massive numbers of people to the Gambling911.com website seeking out odds," O'Brien noted.  Such was the case today. 

William Hill already offers novelty bets on its website, however, these are not available to US citizens at this time.  One popular entertainment bet has been on the television show Big Brother. 

William Hill trades on the London Stock Exchange, where trading took place Monday while the US markets remained shut down for the extended Independence Day holiday. 

From Bloomberg News July 4, 2011:

William Hill Online reported a 26 percent increase in first-quarter net revenue from a year earlier, with sportsbook revenue jumping 54 percent. Revenue at the company’s betting shops gained 8 percent.

The Nevada purchases won’t “move the dial” on earnings for William Hill until more states or the U.S. government approve sports betting, said Nicholas Batram, a London-based analyst at Peel Hunt LLP.

“If that doesn’t happen, they’ve still bought an interesting group of businesses,” said Batram, who has a “buy” recommendation on the company.

William Hill, which is trading at a 26-month high, rose less than 1 percent to 230.8 pence at 11:19 a.m. in London today, valuing the company at about 1.61 billion pounds ($2.6 billion).

William Hill would also have a foothold in the US should online poker become legalized over the next 12 months on the federal level.  An Internet poker bill was signed into law last month but is restricted from going into effect until federal legislation is passed. 

- Aaron Goldstein, Gambling911.com

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