BUSINESS

Hills to pay 32Red £1.1m in legal costs, preps Italian poker launch

TAGs: 32Red, iPoker, Italy, Mobile, William Hill

william-hill-32red-court-costsUK bookies William Hill have paid out its largest mobile jackpot to a very lucky punter from Wakefield, West Yorkshire. The unidentified 33-year-old forklift operator won £866k on a spin of the appropriately named Cop-the-Lot slots game, and the lucky lad said he had to turn his phone off and on to make sure there hadn’t been some malfunction. “I cannot explain how I felt as I just went numb.” The payout easily topped Hills’ previous mobile record payout of £341k and Hills’ spokesperson Joe Crilly suggested it might be the single largest mobile payday any bookie has had to fork over. Crilly also suggested there was “no doubt that we will see our very first mobile millionaire soon.”

While we’re waiting for that magical day, Hills has just made rival online gambling operator 32Red instant millionaires thanks to the long-running trademark dispute between the two companies. In 2009, Gibraltar-licensed 32Red sued over Hills’ 32Vegas online casino – a property Hills inherited from Playtech as part of the William Hill Online joint venture deal – which 32Red said infringed on its trademarks. That case was finally resolved in April when the UK High Court awarded 32Red £150k in damages and an inquiry was then tasked with determining how much Hills owed 32Red for court costs. That inquiry has now settled on a figure of £1.1m (plus interest), of which Hills has already made an interim payment of £800k.

In more positive news for Hills, the bookies are planning to launch online poker on their Italian-facing site next week. The Playtech-powered offering will share liquidity with Playtech’s iPoker, the largest Italian-facing network with roughly 16% of the market. (That said, Q1 stats from Italian regulator AAMS show PokerStars.it controls 38.3% of cash games and 51.3% of tournament play in the ring-fenced market.) Hills’ online casino captured a 7% share of the Italian market in Q1, while its sportsbook share was 3.65%.

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