When the US Supreme Court overturned PASPA like that angry bitmoji flipping a table, the ushering in of “sportsbook plus pro team partnerships” was inevitable.
It’s expected that the homecoming queen is going to date the quarterback. If you’re buying Smucker’s raspberry jelly, you’re only doing so to pair it with some peanut butter and bread. So on Tuesday when William Hill US announced its partnership with the Vegas Golden Knights, it wasn’t so much a surprise as it was a, “well yeah that’s what they’re supposed to do.”
Still, this marks the first sportsbook pairing with an NHL team. Let the proliferation begin!
What’s the significance?
Other than getting the ball rolling on more sportsbook/pro team partnerships like we see in Europe, which is great, there’s not much significance here. This is an advertising-heavy play. According to the release:
The partnership will feature a TV visible dasherboard, in-arena signage, updated league-wide odds displayed on the in-arena Knight Tron during intermission, an away game watch party, and recognition on the LED ribbon board of the “William Hill Line Change” when the Golden Knights make a line change during the game.
Given how heavily Vegasans (Vegans?) bet the Golden Knights last year, capturing that action will be a boon for Willy Hill.
Unless, of course, the Golden Knights manage to capture the Cup this season, which will make all of their newfound bandwagon fans even all that more insufferable.
Regardless, it’s smart business for both Hill and the Golden Knights. Your move, Devils, Penguins and Flyers.
A winning bet is always fun but not all winning bets are the same. The Chicago Bears’ win on Monday Night Football was a big final piece for an impressive win for one bettor in Nevada. The Pro Football Progressive Contest at William Hill sportsbooks is a small $5 wager with a large payoff.
Congrats to the one winner of our Nevada Pro Football 🏈 Progressive Jackpot of $84,565! That's a very nice payout of 16,913 for 1.
The weekly Progressive Card is just $5 to play at any of our 108 Nevada Sports Books and on our Nevada Mobile Sports app. pic.twitter.com/poVBJ8hfez
— William Hill US (@WilliamHillUS) September 18, 2018
This week, a single bettor picked every game correctly to take home the prize of $84,565. This isn’t a traditional parlay or teaser card you’ll find in most casinos. The Pro Football Progressive Contest at William Hill is an exotic parlay that doesn’t involve point spreads.
Bettors pay $5 per entry and must select the winner of every game in order to qualify for the progressive jackpot. The prize carries over from the previous week if there isn’t a winner. The progressive jackpot starts at $10,000 and for each week it is not hit, 80% of the entry fees played on the card that weekend will be added to the pot for the following weekend.
If multiple bettors pick the entire batch of games correctly the prize is split. There was only one correct entry this week so the single player took home the $84,565 jackpot. One of the twists in this contest is that ties, like the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers game this week, are considered a win for the bettor.
Things might have been different for this bettor if the NFL refs understood the new roughing the passer rule or kickers could make field goals in the clutch.
Here's the play from the #Vikings game.
Clay Matthews for roughing the passer again to give the opponent new life on a game ending play.pic.twitter.com/GIaTrkC65O
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) September 16, 2018
Parlay cards big business in Nevada sportsbooks
According to UNLV Gaming, Nevada sportsbooks won 24.12% of the total amount wagered on parlay cards in 2017. That sounds like a lot but the percentage has been higher in the favor of Nevada sportsbooks. In 2014 sportsbooks won 36.83% of the total amount wagered on parlay cards. For comparison they only 4.38% of total amount bet on football wagers last year. There’s a reason William Hill and other sportsbook operators promote parlay winners.
Check out this $2 10-Leg #ProFootball Week 1 #ParlayCard that cashed at the William Hill Sports Book inside Poker Palace Casino for $1,600 (800/1 odds) when the #Jets & #LARams won last night during #MNF
Congrats to this bettor who is enjoying their start to football season. 🏈 pic.twitter.com/ompU7fZ8J9
— William Hill US (@WilliamHillUS) September 11, 2018
When TheLines previewed the new sportsbook at The Linq, we noticed that the parlay cards were placed prominently at each betting window. Meanwhile, the daily betting and futures sheets were placed behind the ticket desk and out of sight. Caesars Entertainment certainly wants bettors to play parlays.
Despite the big jackpot win for the bettor at William Hill this week parlays, teasers, and similar weekly parlay contests are a long-term bad bet for most bettors. Selecting the right side of a game is difficult. Selecting the right side of multiple games is even more difficult.
Recreational gamblers don’t seem to mind the extra risk involved with parlays. Bettors love to win a big jackpot and parlays continue to grow in popularity. It’s a lot more fun to win a jackpot for x times the amount risked than single games at -110.
Delaware became the first state to launch full-scale sports betting after PASPA was found unconstitutional. The first look at futures odds shows some regional bias and high vig.
Being the nit that I am, I decided to dig into the numbers to see just how badly Delaware players are getting the shaft. I used the Sports Futures Calculator at Wizard of Odds for the math.
Regional bias obvious in NFL futures
Are you near Delaware and want to make a futures wager on a regional team? You may want to take a trip to Nevada to do it. The same can be said for some West Coast teams having better prices in Delaware.
The price that stuck out the most was the Philadelphia Eagles winning the Super Bowl. At Delaware sportsbooks, that only pays +450. William Hill offers this bet at +800 in Nevada. BetOnline, an unlicensed sportsbook that accepts bets from Delaware players, also has the Eagles as an 8/1 payout. Westgate pays +1000 on an Eagles repeat. That’s quite a discrepancy.
The Baltimore Ravens are offered at +6000 to win the Super Bowl in Nevada. Delaware sportsbooks posted that number at +3500. The Washington Redskins are +10000 at Nevada William Hill sportsbooks, but +7500 in Delaware. The Steelers see a slashed price in Delaware at +1000 when compared to Nevada’s +1200.
Meanwhile, Los Angeles Rams bettors may not want to buy a futures bet in Nevada, where it only pays +800. It’s +1200 in Delaware. The soon-to-be Las Vegas Raiders are +1200 in Nevada and +1800 in Delaware. The Chargers pay +2500 in Delaware betting shops, but Willian Hill in Nevada hangs +2000 for the same bet.
One price that made no sense between the states is the Atlanta Falcons. In Nevada, Will Hill bettors only get +1200. In Delaware, it’s +2200. This was the only instance I found where a city significantly closer to Delaware than Nevada saw a much better price in Delaware. William Hill may need a geography lesson, or perhaps Delaware bettors know better than Nevada ones that the Atlanta Falcons are overhyped trash.
Major League Baseball pennant races
The regional bias was not as noticeable in Major League Baseball. However, there were still some clear differences. The Philadelphia Phillies are +650 in Delaware. That same bet gets +3000 at William Hill in Nevada. The Braves, a team with legacy fans in the region from the days of TBS broadcasts, only pay +800 in Delaware. That same bet is +4000 at William Hill in Nevada.
The longshots paid at least double in Delaware when compared to Nevada. This may be related to a state lottery’s hopes in enticing players to make sucker bets. There is not a major difference in betting the lowly 22-41 Cincinnati Reds at 50-1 or 999-1, especially when the price of favorites is slashed to make up for it.
Comparing Delaware futures vig to other markets
The vig on futures bets in Delaware is high. The markets I evaluated fell just short of 30%. They were only marginally worse than the William Hill Nevada holds. On the other hand, they were 5-10 basis points above the benchmark Westgate sportsbook in Las Vegas and the offshore sportsbook BetOnline. Here’s a full breakdown of 2018 NFL futures at the four sportsbooks as of June 7.
|Team||Delaware||William Hill LV||Westgate LV||BetOnline
There probably is not a reason to drive to Delaware to make a sports futures bet. It could only be a matter of days before New Jersey becomes an option with a competitive market that may be worth the drive for some in the region.
Nevada prides itself on how strongly it regulates casino operators. Well, it seems as if the shit hit the fan with a handful of NFL Draft prop bets with a statewide sportsbook operator.
- Bettor (Gill Alexander from VSiN) went 6-0 on prop bets placed with William Hill.
- William Hill only paid three of the six winning bets initially, according to Alexander.
- William Hill eventually paid Alexander for all six bets … after three days.
Gill Alexander detailed his ordeal on Wednesday’s VSiN broadcast of “A Numbers Game.” Trying to cash out six wagers placed at a William Hill sportsbook seems simple enough. Nope. Despite dealing with a pleasant ticket writer at the casino, only three of his six wagers would be cashed. The system didn’t allow the ticket writer to pay Alexander for the following three winning NFL Draft prop bets:
- Baker Mayfield +7.5 vs. Lamar Jackson
- Minkah Fitzpatrick -0.5 vs. Derwin James
- Roquan Smith -1.5 vs. Tremaine Edmunds
Since the ticket writer at Hooters Casino wasn’t able to pay the tickets, Alexander started speaking with people up the food chain at William Hill. After being given a strange excuse for why the Mayfield prop bet was a loser he was directed to speak with another person later. The discussion went to multiple supervisors all weekend long. William Hill finally agreed to pay his winning bets on Monday.
That’s definitely crappy, but in the end, Alexander was paid. The story doesn’t end here though. VSiN listeners that may have followed Alexander and placed similar bets may not have received the same treatment. It appears as though speaking with the big dogs at William Hill paid off for Alexander. Other bettors may not have gone up the food chain and been paid for their winning bets.
Stories like this about sportsbooks operating like this aren’t new. What is new is the public forum that this is shared on. It is very rare that local or national media broadcast the negative tales of casino operations just as they happen. Using the national platform of VSiN may shed light on a situation that would normally remain in the dark.
Michael Grodsky, VP of Marketing at William Hill US, had had this to say about the situation: “It was confusing. It was brought to our attention and we are paying customers. Customers can bring tickets on the specific props to any of our sports books and we will cash them.”
As sports betting is being considered for legalization around the country, Nevada is being looked at for regulation. Regardless of laws being broken or not this is a shady situation. If the Nevada Gaming Control Board is as tough as they say, they should be looking into this situation.
You can watch or listen to Gill Alexander’s complete story about his experience about trying to get paid by William Hill for his NFL Draft prop bets below.
Carl Icahn is selling Tropicana Entertainment casinos for $1.85 billion. The sale, announced on Monday, was made in two parts:
- Gaming and Leisure Properties (GLPI) paid $1.21 billion to own the properties, while Eldorado Resorts will pay $640 million and will lease the properties from GLPI for 15 years.
GLPI is a real estate investment trust (REIT) that was spun off from Penn National Gaming. This could have national implications for sports bettors. Prior to the deal, GLPI owned and/or operated more than 35 casinos across the country. Before this deal was made Eldorado Resorts had 20 casinos around the country.
The sportsbooks at the three Eldorado casinos in Nevada are all operated by William Hill. The sportsbook operator has over 100 locations in Nevada alone with payment depots at 7-Eleven locations around the state.
This deal could open the door for William Hill casinos all around the country. A very long article at bloomberg.com called “The British Bookmaker Betting Big on American Sports Gambling” recently offered a lot of information but few specifics on how William Hill might become a big operator in America. Will Hill’s existing connection with Eldorado Resorts could be its way into multiple states at the snap of a finger.
William Hill is a relative newcomer to the United States having only started operations in 2012. However, the company has shown a way to scale sports betting inside and out of casinos.
All you need is a foot in the door
Some businesses are good enough at making deals that they only need a foot in the door to get things done. In this case, William Hill has a foot in the door with Eldorado Resorts which could help open the door to sportsbooks around the country. Eldorado Resorts currently operates casinos in the following states:
- West Virginia
If the foot in the door with Eldorado leads to a foot in the door with GLPI, William Hill could operate a sportsbook in the following states too:
- New Mexico
GLPI could also offer more brick and mortar locations for William Hill at their casinos.
In a perfect world, William Hill could have sportsbooks in 17 different states when sports betting becomes legal in the United States. Caesars Entertainment currently has casinos in 13 different states.
First things first: sports betting has to be legalized for any of this speculation to become reality.
Esports wagering live in Nevada
William Hill US, in partnership with the Downtown Grand Casino, announced on Friday that it had received approval to offer wagering on esports. It becomes the first sportsbook with esports anywhere in Nevada, or in the US, for that matter.
Will Hill will accept wagers on this weekend’s IEM Oakland eSports event for League of Legends.
The move to go live with esports betting comes quickly on the heels of a meeting of the Nevada Gaming Policy Committee, led by Governor Brian Sandoval.
“This announcement is a major step toward ensuring Nevada becomes the e-sports capital of the world. By embracing this unique opportunity and incorporating innovation and technology into our gaming industry, we’re expanding the potential of one of our oldest industries,” Sandoval said in a press release.
“Representatives from William Hill and Downtown Grand have been active partners with the Gaming Policy Committee as we examined e-sports wagering in the State of Nevada,” Sandoval continued. I would like to congratulate them on this approval and commend both companies for their swift work an determination.”
Downtown Grand and Will Hill lead the way
Nevada has designs on becoming a mecca for esports events and enthusiasts. Offering wagering on esports in a legal, regulated market is a part of that effort.
Esports has been on the casino industry’s radar throughout 2016. Previously, Nevada Gaming Control Board Chairman A.G. Burnett explained that under the existing provisions of state gaming regulations, esports could be categorized as an athletic sports event. That allows Nevada sportsbooks to take wagers without further action.
“It has been an honor and a privilege to work closely with Chairman Burnett and the Governor’s Gaming Policy Committee to gain collective support for wagering on eSports. This has been an excellent example of a public/private partnership working together to create a new innovative way of gambling which will have a positive impact on State revenues,” said Seth Schorr, CEO of Fifth Street Gaming and Chairman of the Downtown Grand.
“We are proud that the Downtown Grand will be the home to the first regulated eSports wager in America. The team at the Downtown Grand has worked hard to establish itself as a truly unique eSports destination.”[show-table name=betway]
The first esports wagers
William Hill currently operates 108 race and sportsbooks in Nevada. Customers can wager on the LoL event at any of them or on William Hill sports betting app (if within the state of Nevada).
With less than 24 hours lead time till the event starts, expectations for betting handle are minimal.
“Obviously it’s more symbolic than anything else, and a major milestone,” Schorr said.
He noted that there is an esports tournament at the nearby Neonopolis this weekend that could help the first give the first opportunity for esports wagering a boost. The Downtown Grand will host a viewing party for the finals of the IEM on Sunday at 10 a.m.
Bettors will be able to wager on which of the six participating teams will win the League of Legends tournament being hosted on Saturday and Sunday at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif. The opening odds:
- Team SoloMid (+110)
- Longzhu (+160)
- Flash Wolves (4/1)
- Unicorns of Love (10/1)
- INTZ e-Sports (60/1)
- The Chiefs Esports (100/1)
Bettors will also be able on the two quarterfinal matches on Saturday:
- INTZ e-Sports (+180) vs Unicorns of Love (-220)
- The Chiefs Esports (+700) vs Longzhu (-1100)
What’s next for esports betting in Vegas?
Schorr told Esports Betting Report that the Downtown Grand and William Hill US are planning on taking wagers for events during MLG VEGAS. That takes place at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino on December 16-18.
The gaming festival from Major League Gaming features the first North American Regional of the Call of Duty World League, as well as an Overwatch invitational. Those events both have $100,000 prize pools for the participants.
What events might be on the board in 2017?
“We’re focused first on MLG, then we’ll start to look at other events for next year,” Schorr said.
Right now, any sportsbook that wants to offer esports wagering on a specific event must go through Nevada gaming regulators for approval. Eventually, an advisory board will be formed to determined which tournaments and matches will be authorized for wagering.
“In Nevada, the most important thing is maintaining the integrity of the game, and that the gambler has a fair wager,” Schorr said. “At this point, it is going to be based on the tournament operator, and the integrity controls they have in place to make sure that everything is on the up and up.”