by Renee Israel
William Hill, one of the UK's top land and online gambling groups,
has made headway in its bid to obtain a coveted Nevada egambling license, it was
announced this weekend.
The group learned that its license application has been recommended
by the Nevada Gaming Control Board to the Nevada Gaming Commission.
The Commission will meet in Carson City, Nevada on June 21st to
discuss William Hill's application and give its final decision.
"We are extremely pleased to have the Nevada Gaming Control Board's
recommendation for licensing," said the Chief Executive Officer for William
Hill, Ralph Topping. "We now look forward to our hearing with the Gaming
Commission in two weeks time."
Topping said that Nevada regulators had been extremely fair and
detailed in their assessment of William Hill's entry into the sate, and he was
grateful for their decision.
It hasn't all been plain sailing for William Hill and its bid to
enter the developing Nevada egambling market.
While its initial entry was successful in 2011, with the
purchase of American Wagering Incorporated, Club Cal Neva and Brandywine
Bookmaking LLC, three US sports betting companies, the journey to the latest
recommendation was tumultuous to say the least.
William Hill Closes Aussie Betting Operations
Most recently, William Hill announced that it was closing down
its Australian sports betting business, more than likely to increase its chances
of receiving a Nevada gaming license.
Australian players were suddenly advised by the London based
group that "we have taken the decision to withdraw our sports betting service
for any customer registered in Australia."
Analysts have noted that since Australia's Interactive Gaming
Act of 2001 makes it illegal for a company to offer its casino games to
Australia's gamblers (although no company has ever been tried under this law),
William Hill wanted to take no chances and come into the application process
with a clean record.
Nevada Concerned over Playtech Connections
Another issue that had management worried about the William Hill Nevada
gambling license was the fact that they were questioned by the Nevada
authorities over their partnership with Playtech, whose founder, Teddy Sagi had
spent a few months in jail for bribery in 1996.
CEO Ralph Topping confirmed that he had been asked about William Hill's joint
venture with Playtech.
It seems that the group managed to convince the Nevada authorities of its
reputation and strong business ethics, resulting in a recommendation for
licensing by the Nevada Gaming Control Board.