California sports betting bill advances; Topping rubbishes claims of Nevada delay

TAGs: betting shop, California, sb1390, sports betting, William Hill

california-sports-betting-billCalifornia moved a tiny step closer toward legal sports betting after a bill unanimously passed a state Senate committee. The SB1390 bill, proposed in March by Sen. Roderick Wright, would authorize in-person Nevada-style sportsbetting at California’s racetracks, card clubs and Indian casinos. On Tuesday, the Senate Governmental Organization Committee pointed all its thumbs skyward, clearing a path for a vote on the Senate floor. Like New Jersey, even if the legislature approves SB1390, a court challenge of the federal PASPA prohibitions would be required before any betting windows roll open. The LA Times quoted Wright saying his state’s citizens spend “multiple billions of dollars going to places where this is legal,” so why not bring it on home? That argument proved more convincing than the objections of Rev. James Butler, who claimed betting on sports was “rife for the potential of corruption.” How does that saying go… people in stained glass houses shouldn’t throw stones?

William Hill CEO Ralph Topping has rejected rumors that Hills’ Nevada gaming license application may have hit a snag over past indiscretions by its staff. Rumors of a delay originated in the Guardian last week. Among the newspaper’s claims were that Nevada regulators wanted to know more about the UK financial watchdogs’ 2010 decision to fine Hills exec Robin Chhabra £95k for passing confidential info to a friend. Teddy Sagi, the controversial head of Hills’ William Hill Online JV partner Playtech, allegedly also caused the Nevada Gaming Control Board to arch their dusty eyebrows.

Bollocks (or words to that effect), says Topping. Discussing Hills’ strong Q1 results with analysts, Topping stated that the application “to complete [our] US acquisitions is progressing well and remains within the timetable.” Topping claims to be only 10 months into an expected 12-18 month process that began after Hills acquired a number of Nevada-based sportsbook companies, including American Wagering (maker of US mobile wagering pioneer Leroy’s App) and Brandywine Bookmaking.

The UK media routinely employs words like ‘blight’ and ‘scourge’ to describe the spread of betting shops on UK streets, but the parents of a very sick baby are singing the praises of a Hills shop in Manchester. Nine-week-old Amelia Grace suffered from pyloric stenosis, a narrowing of the passage between the stomach and lower intestine. Amelia couldn’t digest milk without violently projectile vomiting, yet two hospital visits produced only diagnoses of gastric reflux.

A couple weeks back, Amelia’s dad Mark Parsisson visited his local Hills shop to wager on the Grand National. Hills staffer Vicky Leonard got to cooing and oohing over baby Amelia, but when Mark described Amelia’s difficulties, Leonard’s eyebrows rose. Her own daughter had endured pyloric stenosis as a baby. Leonard informed Mark of her suspicions, helpfully writing the medical terminology down on a betting slip. Mark investigated, the doctors concurred, an operation was performed and baby Amelia is all better. The parents are overjoyed, but also plan to sue the hospital for the misdiagnoses, which could have had fatal consequences. The Daily Mail reported that Parsimmon’s Grand National fiver-each-way bet on Sunnyhillboy was a winner, which is how we describe the sharp-eyed betting shop staffer in Manchester.


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