BUSINESS

William Hill US boss says New Jersey sportsbook “built out and ready to go”

TAGs: Joe Asher, monmouth park, New Jersey, PASPA, sports betting, William Hill, william hill us

william-hill-monmouth-park-joe-asherThe US federal judge handling New Jersey’s quest for legal sports betting has granted the state a one-week delay in filing its latest legal brief. District Court Judge Michael Shipp granted the delay over the objections of New Jersey’s opponents, the Department of Justice and a gaggle of hypocritical sports leagues. New Jersey will now file its response brief on Oct. 17 and Shipp will entertain both parties’ oral arguments on Oct. 31.

New Jersey’s plan is to allow sports betting at Atlantic City casinos and state racetracks and no track has been more vocal about launching its new sportsbook than Monmouth Park. The track, which inked a prospective sports betting technology partnership with the US division of UK bookies William Hill in May 2013, recently formed a new sports betting association that will act as a self-regulating body to complete the illusion that the state is not actively regulating the activity (something prohibited by the federal PASPA sports betting prohibition).

Some gaming companies with operations in other US states have stated a reluctance to participate in New Jersey’s legal sports betting experiment out of fear that doing so would unnecessarily aggravate the DOJ. William Hill US has a growing presence in Nevada’s legal sports betting market, but CEO Joe Asher (pictured) said the William Hill Race and Sports Bar at Monmouth Park is ready to rebrand as the William Hill Race and Sports Book the minute Judge Shipp gives the state the nod.

Asher told the Associated Press that his company’s Monmouth operation was “built out and ready to go.” What’s more, Asher expects that, once the state’s sports betting market gets up to speed, it would be “at least three times” the size of the Nevada sports betting market, which handled $3.6b in wagers last year. New Jersey’s population is three times the size of Nevada’s and there are tens of millions more citizens just over the Garden State’s borders, many of these individuals rabid sports fans already betting on sports via other channels.

Asher said his firm had “read with great interest” the recent comments by National Basketball Association commissioner Adam Silver that the spread of legal sports betting across the US was inevitable. Asher said he hoped Silver’s public stance “signals a re-evaluation of what is obviously a mindset that does not comport with 21st century reality.” As the late Robin Williams used to observe: reality… what a concept.

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