Online gamblers in China will find their access to UK bookies William Hill blocked as of Monday, Aug. 19. While Hills’ Chinese customers will still be able to log in to their accounts in order to request withdrawals, wagering will be a thing of the past. Citing “regulatory reasons beyond our control,” Hills has apologized to players and affiliates for the decision to withdraw from the market.
Stateside, Hills has more upbeat announcements to make. On July 28, William Hill US celebrated its inaugural go-round as title sponsor of the Haskell Invitational at New Jersey’s Monmouth Park. Hills’ US CEO Joe Asher said he was “really happy” with how the event played out, as well as with the ongoing free-play sports betting it’s offering via the track. Asher said Hills is using the free-play wagering to “build our database” as it awaits the Third Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision on whether to allow legal cash wagering on sports events beyond Nevada’s borders.
In Nevada, Hills has launched a new promotion to capitalize on the coming kickoff of a new National Football League season. The ‘1st and $10,000’ promo will offer $25k in free wagers via Hills’ Nevada-only Mobile Sports betting app, Ten randomly selected users will each receive $1k in free wagers on the opening weekend (Sept. 7-8), while two $500 free wager prizes will be awarded each weekend over the remainder of the season. To qualify, users must either open a new mobile account between now and September 3 or be an existing user who wagered at least once over the past 12 months.
JIMMY VACCARO JOINS SOUTH POINT, PREDICTS US-WIDE LEGAL WAGERING IN FIVE YEARS
While Hills looks to add customers, it’s just lost director of public relations Jimmy Vaccaro (pictured above) to crosstown rival South Point, where Vegas veteran Vaccaro has a history with South Point owner Michael Gaughan dating back to 1975. Vaccaro’s new remit will be to run South Point’s Race and Sports Marketing division and to get out the word that South Point has joined Hills, Cantor Gaming and Station Casinos in offering mobile wagering for Nevada bettors. Vaccaro told SportingNews’ Linemakers column that nobody wanted to be “the only book in town without the mobile app and have everyone else roll by.”
Vaccaro told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that legal sports betting could be legal nationwide “in six to nine months” if the NFL dropped its resistance, but Vaccaro doesn’t expect pigs to fly just yet. While Vaccaro would love to see the NFL “get on board,” he says a national rollout is more likely to take “at least five years.” Vaccaro suggested the US might have to endure the humiliation of watching Canada legalize sports wagering in the near future, leaving open the possibility of “10k people from Buffalo driving across the border to bet on the Patriots or Bills.” Or, you know, just for the opportunity to forget – for a fleeting yet utterly blissful moment – that they live in Buffalo.