The Nevada Gaming Commission unanimously approved UK bookmaking giant William Hill’s application for a gaming license last week. Commission members also put their stamp of approval on William Hill’s acquisition of three Nevada sports books.

Now that they’re approved for business in the Silver State, William Hill is a very serious player in the American sports betting market.

William Hill in Nevada

Gaming industry watchers will recall that last year William Hill spent around $55 million for the assets of American Wagering Incorporated. That deal included Leroy’s; Brandywine Bookmaking LLC, and the sportsbook at Club Cal-Neva.

While these aren’t big Strip operations, do they constitute a big chunk of the only legal sports betting market in the United States. According to a report in the Las Vegas Journal Review, these three operations constitute 55% of Nevada’s sports betting market.

What else has the Nevada Gaming Commission been up to lately? Check out Wynn Applies for Online Poker License.

What’s Next

William Hill plans on branding its new Nevada sportsbook with the William Hill brand and is clearly intent on making inroads in the American market. James Henderson, William Hill’s Director of Retail Operations, confirmed as much when he told reporters the move is an, “entry point to other opportunities in the U.S.”

What those opportunities are is anyone’s guess right now. It doesn’t seem like too much of a stretch to think that far-sighted company officials are optimistic about the prospect of legal American sports betting in the near(ish) future. Given the pace at which events are moving in New Jersey, that may not the pipe dream it once was.

In the short term, William Hill plans on sinking some money into improvements on its new properties. According to published reports, they’ll be spending around $3 million ahead of football season. All told, they’ll be putting $10 million in improvements to the properties.

Want to learn more about William Hill’s affiliate program? Check it out here!

Smooth Sailing

Given the sometimes brutal nature of Nevada Gaming Commission licensing hearings, William Hill had a pretty smooth ride. Commissioners were, however, more than a little interested in the company’s relationship with PlayTech and particularly William Hill Online’s main investor Teddy Sagi.

Relations between PlayTech and William Hill have been very rocky over the past year and that seemed to concern commissioners. Still, commissioners seemed satisfied that Sagi’s role in the company is limited to that of investor.

What do you think of William Hill’s entry into the American sports betting market? Let us know about it on our Online Gaming Newswire Forum.

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