William Hill to offer sports betting services in Washington DC stadium through a deal with Ted Leonsis
14:01 30 October 2019
Well-known UK bookmaking company William Hill has gotten into a deal with Ted Leonsis, a big name in the US sports world, for offering sports betting services in the Washington DC stadium.
It is a major step for the UK bookmaker as a large number of reputed European gambling companies such as the ones listed here at the Betminded website, are looking to expand operations in the US marketplace.
A first for a European bookmaker
Yhis is the first time that a sports book (equivalent of a bet shop in the United States) from the UK will be setting up services inside a professional stadium in the US, after the landmark Supreme Court verdict legalising sports betting operations in the country, in May 2018, last year.
Mr Leonsis owns 7 pro-level sports teams and is also the owner of the Capital One arena in the Washington DC. He believes that such in-stadium betting service will significantly enhance the experience of the fans, and will also open up scope for business revenue outside of the game times.
First-of-its-kind for US too
William Hill presently offers its services in 8 out of 14 US states where sports betting has been legalised, however, is still behind other online rivals like DraftKings and FanDuel in the state of New Jersey, the largest sports betting market to legalise the activity after the Supreme Court ruling.
Talking about more mature sports gambling markets like Australia and UK, gambling companies have already set up operations in the sports fixtures there, with dedicated counters constructed in racetracks and football stadiums. However, they also face backlash from time to time, with regulators coming down heavily on them because of problem gambling related complaints.
Talking to the press in an interview, Mr. Leonsis expressed that he was keen on allowing people to bet on multiple and detailed data points like the length of a kick or the speed of the ball and more. He also expressed worry that over-the-counter bookmaking services were in danger of extinction during the next 10 years, much like what has happened to the cable TV in the modern day era of Netflix. He said that people won’t perceive such operations as gambling in the 10 years’ time and that he’s trying to provide betting services in the Capital One arena quite like an Apple Store instead of a cocktail lounge.
About Mr Leonsis
Mr Leonsis is currently a board member of Groupon and American Express, with close to $ 50 million investment in upgradation of the Capital One arena over the past couple of years. He also invested $ 50 million into Sportradar, a sports data company through Revolution Growth, a private equity firm owned by him. He also owns a stake in DraftKings, a fantasy sports website which is now also offering sports betting services.
It’s worth noting that Washington DC is the only US jurisdiction where sports books are allowed to set up operations in arenas. The 14 US states where sports betting has been legalised are allowed to operate from casinos only so far, with some offering online sports betting services as well.