SportCaller and William Hill Mix Betting and Casino

  • SportCaller and William Hill agree on expanding existing partnership
  • The partnership news comes ahead of the Cheltenham Festival
  • Golden Race’s the latest game offering £1 million in prizing money

SportCaller is a pioneer in helping gaming and betting businesses expand their digital footprint and enhance existing verticals by allowing customers a free-to-play experience. Betting is optional and players have an opportunity to win £1 million. The company is expanding an existing partnership with British heavyweight sportsbook William Hill.

SportCaller and William Hill Focus on Customer Retention

SportCaller has been one of the companies to help various B2B and B2C companies improve their overall experience and offer. SportCaller has worked with FanDuel to help the Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) platform expand its footprint. Coral has also used SportCaller’s options to introduce the proven free-to-play (FTP) segment to its own portfolio.

Now, the company has chosen to partner up with William Hill to boost retention rate and introduce an exciting new game, Golden Race. Working as a jackpot game, the Golden Race allows players to enter for a nominal fee worth £10 betting on a horse race taking place in the United Kingdom or Ireland.

With the Cheltenham Festival about to kick off there will be significant opportunities to place wagers in the coming days. Players stand to win £1 million if they successfully predict the specific order of the first finishing horses with some £50,000 on the line as consolation reward available to the person(s) to predict the exact order of the first two horses.

The consolation reward only applies in cases when the jackpot hasn’t been hit. Golden Race has proven a particularly successful concept leading to better customer retention rate and organic growth. William Hill has been among the first sportsbooks to address the needs of an increasingly sophisticated audience which wants payouts.

Golden Race has managed to guarantee regular winnings without biting into William Hills’ profitability. The improved upon success rate has prompted even more gamers to choose from William Hill’s ample sports betting portfolio.

SportCaller has managed to broach an interesting topic, mixing the best practices from the casino and sports betting industry and posting very satisfying results.

Liam Wallwork, William Hills Commercial Director, has commented on the similarities between sports betting and the casino experience:

So, we were thrilled to see so many enjoy the Midas touch at Kempton’s Golden Race on Wednesday. The game will now be the cornerstone of our marketing and advertising campaign for The Festival and beyond. In fact, we will be running the £1m Golden Race in tandem across the meeting alongside Lucky 7 for 100k-a-day. It’s by far the most generous FTP offering in the village.

SportCaller’s Cillian Barry has also been excited at the news and William Hill’s choice to continue working with the company:

It’s a real validation for Hills, a name so intrinsically connected with horse racing and The Festival, to have enlisted our services and we can’t wait for Golden Race to come under starter’s orders next week and for one, or more, lucky punters to bag the £1m daily jackpot!

William Hill has long been at the forefront of cutting-edge developments in the sports betting industry, focusing on double growth and US expansion.

Carmen Thompson

Carmen is our residential reporter always on the move and hunting down the latest scoops and rumours to explore. Nothing gets past her keen nose, especially when it comes to some serious Jelly Bean poker tournaments.

William Hill and Penn National Team up in Nevada

  • William Hill and Penn National Gaming are about to launch sports betting offer in M Resort Spa Casino
  • Regulatory approval from the NGCB still needed
  • William Hill continues to expand its footprint in Nevada and the US

William Hill and Penn National Gaming have been working together on a number of properties. The latest initiative between the two companies features the M Resort Spa Casino in Nevada. Following an expansion of their existing partnership in 2018, the companies are prepared to work together for the future of the property.

William Hill to Take Control Over M Resort Spa Casino in Nevada

Nevada’s M Resort Spa Casino is located Henderson, not so far from the Mecca of all Western gambling, Las Vegas. The property is about to get even more attractive with William Hill now awaiting regulatory approval to take control over the property’s sports and race books, adding distinct options for sports fans.

William Hill Promises Stronger Profits by 2023

William Hill and Penn National will be launching in May, hoping to provide customers with land-based wagering options as well as live betting and William Hill’s own authentic mobile betting solutions.

With the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) going through the deal and should they clear it, as expected, William Hill will deploy its expertise to provide M Resort Spa Casino with the fetching sports betting that will bring it more customers.

Commenting at the prospect of expanding with M Resort, William Hill US CEO, Joe Asher, had the following to say:

We are excited to expand our partnership with our friends at Penn National to operate the sports book at The M. It is a fabulous property, serving the Henderson and Southern Highlands areas, as well as guests from out of town, and we look forward to bringing our market-leading product to these customers.

William Hill and Penn National Gaming have been working together since August 2018 in a bid to expand their partnership and introduce William Hill’s award-winning sports betting product to Penn’s land-based properties.

It has been part of William Hill’s strategy in the United States to expand by partnering with esteemed brands and land-based properties across the USA. Penn National owns gaming venues in Mississippi, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

With all of these states looking into sports betting and expansion option for 2019, William Hill is well-poised to leverage its expertise and expand into important markets. Despite a small dip in the company’s financial performance, William Hill is well on schedule to achieve a double-digit growth.

Aran Malik

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William Hill Promises Stronger Profits by 2023

William Hill is not giving up on pursuing double-profits by 2023 despite a most recent slump in the operator’s financial results. Not all is as it looks and William Hill is seemingly well on track to achieve the targets it has set out for itself.

Despite Losses, William Hill to Double Profits by 2023

William Hill is challenged on multiple fronts. The operator registered net loss to the tune of £721 million and had to settle some regulatory proceedings in 2018. However, William Hill is on point with achieving double profit results by 2023.

Looking at the current performance results, the operator is not far from the mark, as the losses it reported for 2018 were strictly a write-off occasioned by the reduction of FOBTs maximum stake. While UK’s model took some adjustment, William Hill has been becoming a bit of a digital pioneer in the United States, reporting excellent results on digital and mobile.

William Hill to Add Markets with Mr. Green Acquisition

The operator has already been posting solid returns in terms of revenue, managing to generate 2% higher revenue year-over-year in 2018. An expansion with the acquisition of Mr. Green has also signaled the company’s readiness to bring its profits up to $300 million by 2023.

As a reference, the US arm of the sportsbook generated solid EBITDA $48 million last year. William Hill is growing in a highly-contentious legal context. With a round of new controls introduced back at home, the United Kingdom may no longer be the gambling haven of the past years.

Operators Focusing on the United States Again

Operators are now re-aligning their offer to the United States. William Hill Chief Executive Phillip Bowcock addressed the burgeoning potential of the United States as a potential market:

This is a major new market opportunity that William Hill is very well placed to pursue as we are the US’s leading sports betting company. We aim to maintain our market leadership and intend to enter every state that regulates sports betting.

Mr. Bowcock shed more light on the difficulties that William Hill was presently facing, explaining that thee were a mix of legal and technical challenges. Deploying a large network across multiple in the United States has been an ambitious undertaking and one that would certainly take time.

Beyond this, there has also been the changing regulatory context in the United States with the reversal of the Department of Justice’s Wire Act Opinion of 2011, making the use of cross-state serves punishable by law.

Mr. Bowcock didn’t mention PASPA while reporting on the company’s latest results and future goals, which means that William Hill’s building and expansion strategy may not be contingent on the good graces of the DOJ. There has been some doubt aboutthe British top brands,

This is a good course of action as too much reliance on government regulation can easily send the value of an entire business plummeting as we have seen in recent months.

Kat Orlov

Newcomer Kat is our newcomer poker aficionado whos skill not only lives on the table but flourishes on the site as through her many sources she never fails to be the first to hear of any important or exciting poker news around the world.

Willam Hill Now Runs Golden Ent. Betting Operations in Nevada

  • William Hill officially adds new Golden Entertainment Properties in Nevada
  • The British operator continues to expand across the United States
  • Should Iowa legalize sports betting, Will Hill could be the first operator to expand across the state.

William Hill is moving forward with its expansion in the United States. After scouting out new opportunities in Iowa, the operator secured its position in Nevada with yet another auspicious partnership with Golden Entertainment.

William Hill and Golden Entertainment Dominate Sports Betting

Back in October 2018, William Hill and Golden Entertainment entered into partnership, eyeing new opportunities for growth and securing their respective businesses. What better way than pooling efforts?

It’s official, and William Hill and Golden Entertainment are going to help each other’s betting operations. Officially, William Hill will be taking care of several Golden Ent. properties across Nevada leveraging its expertise. William Hill is currently overseeing the following properties:

  • Aquarius Casino Resort in Laughlin
  • Arizona Charlie’s Boulder
  • Arizona Charlie’s Decatur

Another property is in the works which will be arriving later in March at The STRAT hotel. Meanwhile, William Hill is quite familiar with Golden and the company has been operating various kiosks for it.

Estimated 80 kiosks are run by William Hill but originally owned by Golden Ent. This includes third-party operators that are running the activities independently from casinos and sportsbooks.

William Hill U.S. CEO Joe Asher was happy with the latest partnership between the companies, commenting:

The addition of the four new casino resorts marks an exciting new chapter in our relationship with Golden Entertainment. We look forward to working together to offer sports fans an amazing experience for many years to come in Nevada and elsewhere as opportunities arise.

A similar sentiment was expressed by Golden Entertainment Chief Operating Officer Steve Arcana who had the following to add:

We are excited to continue expanding our relationship with William Hill, which has a proven sports wagering platform not only in Nevada but around the world. We look forward to growing our business in Nevada and other jurisdictions through this partnership.

William Hill’s footprint in the United States is strong. While the operator is still committed to Europe and the United Kingdom, the toughening regulation at home has incentivized William Hill to seek a more diverse portfolio around the world.

More interestingly, the company teamed up with the Prairie Meadows Racetrack & Casino to provide sports betting opportunities in the United States, even though there was no indication that Iowa might soon have a legalized industry.

This might be about to change with a new bill that was introduced just this week and endorsed by Senator Roby Smith.

Carmen Thompson

Carmen is our residential reporter always on the move and hunting down the latest scoops and rumours to explore. Nothing gets past her keen nose, especially when it comes to some serious Jelly Bean poker tournaments.

Norther Ireland’s Bookmakers Decide to Introduce FOBTs Limit

Northern Ireland bookmakers have collectively opted into FOBTs restrictions. While there’s no active legislation currently binding the industry, flagship brands have pre-emptively introduced the necessary changes themselves.

Bookmakers in Northern Ireland Cut FOBTs Betting Limits

Ladbrokes has been the first operator in Northern Ireland to announce that it will voluntarily restrict the limit for Fixed-Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs). Shortly after, more followed with two more flagship companies, William Hill and Paddy Power vowing their support of the measure.

As of January 26, there are five bookmakers which have so far expressed their support for slashing the £100 maximum bet on FOBTs down to £2, with A McLeans Bookmakers and Toals joining the three on Friday, January 25.

With the latest additions, the total number of betting shops to have restricted the FOBTs limits are 230 on the territory of Norther Ireland.

While bookmakers in Northern Ireland are bound by the Betting, Gaming, Lotteries and Amusements (Northern Ireland) Order 1985 and not the Gambling Act 2005, the companies have opted to pre-emptively diversify their portfolios and avoid overreliance on a segment that has become dubious from a legal standpoint.

Multiple Calls to Self-Regulate the Industry

The Northern Ireland Turf Guardians’ Association (NITGA) has talked to bookmakers to consider slashing their rates to match the UK reduction to £2 as the maximum allowable stake. The move is coming into effect on April 1.

Jeremy Wright Mulls Credit Card Ban for Gambling Use

Another call was made by Cllr Kyle from the Belfast City Council who has advised companies in Norther Ireland to take heed from Ladbrokes and push ahead with voluntary reductions, as to comply with regulations in the rest of the United Kingdom.

Meanwhile, the Department of Health will focus its efforts to gauge whether adequate support has been given to individuals who are vulnerable to developing gaming addiction. The Department is specifically going to look into addiction developed as a direct result from FOBTs.

Are FOBTs in their Current Version Dangerous to Gamers and Business?

FOBTs pose a threat to gamers who are inclined to play relying on their spur-of-the-moment considerations, leading to the loss of substantial gaming funds.

There have been cases cited all throughout the United Kingdom that people have committed suicide following unsuccessful and possibly financially-ruinous gaming sessions on FOBTs. While the number of such incidents isn’t extensive, the fact that a gaming product can lead to this is alarming enough.

NITGA has commented that the combination of quick gameplay and high upper limit makes it dangerous for people who are inclined to indulge in gaming without thinking much first.

Now that five of the largest operators in Northern Ireland have agreed to comply with the non-legally binding request of politicians and lawmakers, the country is on its way to achieving better customer protection for its gamers.

Carmen Thompson

Carmen is our residential reporter always on the move and hunting down the latest scoops and rumours to explore. Nothing gets past her keen nose, especially when it comes to some serious Jelly Bean poker tournaments.

William Hill to Contest Regulatory Fine in the Netherlands

iGaming regulation in the Netherlands is a tough nut to crack. Until recently, many companies shunned the idea of offering their product in the country, but things have now changed. The Dutch government is preparing a more lenient approach to gambling activities and any brand that’s willing to obtain a license may now do it. However, things have been rather stale since September. And now, William Hill must pay a $338,700 fine.

Online Gaming Legalization in the Netherlands

The Netherlands has avoided discussing the legalization of the iGaming sector for a long while. After talks began earlier this year, the Netherlands Gambling Authority (KSA), backed by the government, argued that any operators that wanted to enter the would-be regulated market and which had been providing iGaming products online before, without a proper licensing, could be barred from achieving a legal status in the Netherlands.

This is almost what’s happening with William Hill, only the KSA has taken a more lenient approach, demanding instead a stiff penalty ($338,700) instead. According to the regulator, William Hill has been catering to Dutch customers without bothering to obtain a license. Individuals living in the country had been able to play on WilliamHill.com and use two separate mobile applications to access the gambling markets offered by the brand.

William Hill's betting shop
A William Hill betting shop’s interior. Photo credit: William Hill.

According to the KSA, Dutch customers had been left to enjoy all sorts of casino games as well as participate in poker and sports betting. More specifically, William Hill had translated the interface into Dutch, thus becoming fully-complacent with luring Dutch customers.

William Hill also understood the inherent difficulties for Dutch gamers when it comes to depositing and withdrawing from online iGaming sites, which wasn’t prohibited, and thus introduced an alternative payment method, iDEAL, which is one of the most popular payment solutions on the country’s market.

However, William Hill are far from simply conceding to the KSA ruling. Instead, the company has known for a few weeks that the regulator is planning to issue a fine, which the British brand is now ready to fight.

Dragging Their Feet

According to KSA Chairman and Exec René Jansen, the watchdog will do anything in its power to guarantee the protection and security of local gamers against unregulated offers.

A player who gambles with an illegal provider does without any protection; there is no supervision so it is impossible to ensure these companies are conducting business fairly, and that is why the KSA acts against illegal providers. -KSA Chairman René Jansen

Mr. Jansen also noted the KSA’s ongoing commitment to stave off illegal activities and curb gambling addiction. Meanwhile, William Hill is about to join a number of other companies which have been issued a similar penalty in absentia, including MRG, and a Betsson Group’s subsidiary.

The Dutch government has been making a steadfast push into clamping down on “illegal gambling activities” in the country. One notable measure the government has considered was the “bad actor” initiative, which basically wanted to target companies that have offered a product in the past without a license should be fined and even banned.

There has also been a rift between the government’s indecision to finalize a regulatory framework and the KSA whose outgoing chairman and vice chairman, Jan Suyver and Henk Kesler respectively, have grumbled against the slow process of delivering a lawful gambling framework, allowing institutions to handle operators.

In September, when the 2016-bill had to be voted on, no effort was made, leading to a state of limbo for the iGaming industry in the Netherlands. As a result, fines continue to trickle in, but operators can’t help but ask the question – on what grounds?

Sophia Rojas

Growing up around law firms, Sophia keeps our team of reporters atop any legislative developments to follow up with a welcomed dose of positive news as our house trivia nut!

Will Hill and Paddy Power Betfair Face Compensation Lawsuit

William Hill and Paddy Power have been faced with fresh compensation claims, after a customer admitted to having stolen money from clients to feed what appeared to be a gambling addiction.

William Hill and Paddy Power Face Compensation Claims

A gambling addict has agreed to help clients seek back compensation from bookmakers that have allowed the individual to place a total of seven-figure wagers, after he had been reportedly showing symptoms of addiction. The compensation claims affect two of the United Kingdom’s biggest names in the sector, William Hill and Paddy Power.

Investigation discovered that the individual had placed the wagers with money he had stolen from his clients, as part of his employment in the Dubai’s property sector. Interviewed by police in April, 2018, the “offender” made a confession, revealing the origin of the money. Shortly after, he agreed to assist his clients in seeking compensations from the same bookmakers for having failed to spot the customer’s gambling-related problems.

William Hill's store window in the UK.
Outside a William Hill betting shop.

According to the Guardian, the customer had placed £650,000 over a six-month period at William Hill. Paddy Power Betfair reportedly accepted £965,000 in bets and the same compensation is sought from the company.

If the case goes in the way of the plaintiffs, this will be one of the latest ill turn of events for William Hill with the company previously having to pay £6.2 million fine in a related case. In the past case, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) had established that William Hill had allowed money gained through criminal activities to be wagered and laundered.

The UK’s watchdog also hit Paddy Power Betfair with a £2.2 million fine related to a failure to meet the necessary customer-protection and anti-money laundering (AML) practices.

Due Diligence Needs Enhancement

Failure to meet anti-money laundering (AML) practices and KYC obligations entail some of the stiffest penalties in the industry. The plaintiffs will base their case on the argument that both William Hill and Paddy Power Betfair have failed to conduct the necessary checks that would have revealed the origin of the money as fraudulent.

Given the faulty past of the companies, a ruling in their favor would be difficult. According to the investigation, the individual allegedly brought whole bags of money to William Hill’s betting shops asking for safe storage. However, this didn’t prompt the necessary obligatory checks as per the license agreements.

Meanwhile, the case has been taken up by Mackrell Turner Garrett, a law firm, with James Atton representing the plaintiffs. Mr. Atton has pointed out that so far there has been a failure of communication between the plaintiffs, the UKGC and Paddy Power Betfair. Paddy Power Betfair would definitely want to avoid another complication and a fine, as the company is now facing FOBTs £2 cut-down.

William Hill continues to deny wrongdoing, saying that the allegations have been investigated for months now and the company awaits a final decision. However, William Hill did point out that the individual who had staked the money had not been part of any investigation nor brought to justice for the theft of the money.

While the case presents certain challenges, it does seem like the bookmakers have complacently allowed £1.5 million to clear their betting shops without carrying out the necessary checks.

Carmen Thompson

Carmen is our residential reporter always on the move and hunting down the latest scoops and rumours to explore. Nothing gets past her keen nose, especially when it comes to some serious Jelly Bean poker tournaments.

William Hill to Add Markets with Mr. Green Acquisition

William Hill is diversifying its assets and reducing its dependency on its main market. The company’s acquisition of MRG is another step in that direction, with William Hill making sure to re-focus its efforts out of one of its main bastions – the United Kingdom.

William Hills’ MRG Means Readjustment

On December 4, William Hill announced that it was seeking to acquire MRG, a casino brand formerly known as Mr. Green. MRG is valued at $307 million and offers new markets, which would help the company seek alternative sources of revenue beyond the United Kingdom, where Will Hill has become a house name.

With the announcement, William Hill also acknowledged that the bulk of the £1.7 billion in annual revenue still came from the United Kingdom where legal & regulatory tensions have been mounting. Diversifying would help the company dive into developing and established new markets. The company signaled its intentions towads MRG as early as November, when William Hill first announced its intentions to acquire a nearly 5-percent stake in Mr. Green.

MRG, in particular, presently operates in a number of markets, including Denmark, Italy, Latvia, Ireland, Malta, and of course – Great Britain, and further expansion is on the cards. With Sweden recently legalizing its own online casino market, MRG hopes to obtain a license and start offering its products to Swedish customers on January 1, 2019.

MRG’s online-only business will increase the William Hill Group’s share of revenue and profits from online as well as from outside the UK, and reduce William Hill’s exposure to the UK market – Official William Hill statement

Stipulating about the benefits of the acquisition, William Hill outlined a scenario whereby the company had already acquired MRG, which would have driven the first six months results by 5 percent across the board. Growth outside the United Kingdom would have jumped by 7 percent.

William Hill will need to go through a number of legal procedures before it can acquire MRG, with the company expecting the deal to push through between December 10 and January 17, 2019.

If watchdogs fail to review the proposal, then a grace period will be granted so that the acquisition may continue according to plan. Settlement is expected to begin on January 25, 2019. William Hill will seek to acquire at least 90 percent of MRG shares, indicating a full-acquisition.

After the process has been completed, the company will delist MRG from the Nasdaq Stockholm, giving William Hill enough time to bring all internal operations in line and reposition its assets and portfolio.

William Hill is presently facing a number of problems at home, although none too serious as of the moment. The bookmaker was recently reported not to pay out the correct odds to punters, short-handing them instead.

With the regulatory headwinds intensifying, many bookmakers and iGaming companies are looking for ways to minimize the impact of the looming Brexit and the jump in remote gambling tax.

In 2019, companies will be subject to some of the most demanding tax & regulatory norms in the past decade, which will require smart business action.

Carmen Thompson

Carmen is our residential reporter always on the move and hunting down the latest scoops and rumours to explore. Nothing gets past her keen nose, especially when it comes to some serious Jelly Bean poker tournaments.

William Hill Launches “Nobody Harmed by Gambling” Campaign

Popular online bookmaker William Hill has announced its new corporate objective that is aimed at eradicating problem gambling in the United Kingdom. “Nobody Harmed By Gambling” is a campaign that will make social responsibility one of the main focuses of the company’s day-to-day operations.

William Hill recognizes that there is a responsibility that comes with being one of the larger bookmakers in the country to look after its players and ensure that they are not harmed by the activities that the company provides. After analysing its data, the betting operator has decided do something about the rising threat of problem gambling across the country.

How William Hill Plans to Help

William Hill will be taking a good, hard look at how its products are designed in an attempt to change the way that at-risk players interact with them. They will be changing the way their products are advertised and how the company communicates with players to help them stay in control of their gambling habits.

There are nine core commitments involved in the Nobody Harmed by Gambling campaign. They are outlined as follows:

  • Develop tools to help at risk players
  • Provide players with more data to help them make better choices
  • Set up training with responsible gambling experts
  • Develop a program for employees to work with problem gambling organisations
  • Create a Responsible Gambling Innovation Fund
  • Develop indicators of responsible gambling
  • Crowdsource new ideas from experts
  • Encourage industry-wide adoption of responsible gambling tools
  • Promote change in how gambling is advertised

With so many steps involved, it will certainly be a long road ahead for William Hill in its mission to eliminate problem gambling in the UK. However, it is an admirable goal, and other gaming operators should take note of William Hill’s commitment to its players’ safety.

Problem Gambling in the UK

In the United Kingdom, there are over two million people who are either at-risk or problem gamblers. A report from the Gambling Commission notes that problem gambling rates have risen by more than a third among individuals over the age of 16, with increasing rates of addiction among players who wager on fixed-odds betting terminals.

Over the years, GambleAware, the country’s leading gambling charity, has request an increase in funding for problem gambling treatment, but little has been done to help this cause. By stepping forward with its “Nobody Harmed by Gambling Campaign”, William Hill is taking initiative and helping out organisations like GambleAware in their effort to help minimise problem gambling rates and prevent players from developing unhealthy habits in the future.

 

Grant Mahon

Grant is the self-professed casino madman and reporter that brought this eclectic team of dedicated and talented writers together from around the world to proudly build an humble empire of authentic casino news.