BUSINESS

William Hill boosts sportsbook presence in Nevada, where handle could top $5b in 2016

TAGs: Eldorado Resorts, Nevada, William Hill

william-hill-el-dorado-resorts-sportsbook-dealThe US division of UK bookmakers William Hill has added two more Nevada sportsbooks to its portfolio of managed properties.

On Monday, William Hill US announced that it had inked a “long-term” deal with Eldorado Resorts to “significantly upgrade” and operate the race and sportsbooks at the Silver Legacy Resort Casino (pictured) and Circus Circus Hotel Casino Reno, which Eldorado acquired from MGM Resorts last July.

The two parties aren’t strangers, as Hills has operated the Eldorado Resort Casino’s sportsbook since 2012. Hills says it aims to have the Silver Legacy’s all-new 7,200-square-foot sportsbook ready in time for the start of the 2016 NFL season, while the Circus Circus Reno sportsbook will also undergo a major renovation.

Nevada sportsbooks have been on a roll of late, setting a new revenue record for the third straight year in 2015 and starting off 2016 with a string of new monthly betting handle records. The sustained betting surge has local operators projecting total wagering handle of $5b this year, more than twice the sum reported in 2006.

The growing popularity of mobile wagering has played a major role in boosting Nevada’s sports handle. In 2011, Hills made its US market debut by purchasing American Wagering Inc, which had launched Nevada’s first mobile wagering product, Leroy’s App, the previous year. Nearly all Nevada books now offer mobile apps, which reportedly accounted for around 29% of all in-state wagers last year.

Cantor Gaming (since rebranded as CG Technology) swiftly followed Hills in offering Nevada bettors a mobile option. Matthew Holt, the company’s VP of sports betting, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that the apps enabled bettors to bet more often, which forced the other sportsbooks to hop on the mobile bandwagon so as not to get left behind.

South Point sportsbook manager Jimmy Vaccaro said, on average, 40% of his book’s handle now comes via phone accounts. Even better, Westgate sportsbook VP Jay Kornegay said his over the counter betting handle has yet to suffer since the casino launched its betting app in January.

Legendary oddsmaker Michael ‘Roxy’ Roxborough said there was no question that mobile was giving betting a boost, but insisted “there is no one set reason the handle is going up.” Indeed, MGM Resorts won’t join the mobile betting party until later this month yet book director Jay Rood said his 2016 betting volume was up over 5% year-on-year. Bottom line: it’s a good time to be a bookie.

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