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Flurry Of Gambling Partnerships Are Enhancing The In-Stadium Sports Experience

Juan Carlos Blanco November 12, 2018
Gambling Partnerships

Pro sports leagues (pre-May 2018): Sports betting is the scourge of the earth and will ruin the integrity of our games.

Also pro sports leagues (post-May 2018): How fast and in how many ways can we get paid on this sports betting thing?

The latter is the new normal in a post-PASPA landscape. The cash grab initiative actually predates the May 14 Supreme Court decision. The request for the now infamous integrity fees first popped up in an Indiana sports betting bill back in January. The league would attempt to incorporate them – along with official data fees – in the bills for numerous other states.

They’d unanimously be rebuffed.

Leagues, teams getting more intertwined with gambling

Having repeatedly run into a legislative brick wall on that front thus far, the leagues are starting to adjust on the fly. In the spirit of “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em”, the NBA and NHL have already struck partnerships that include remuneration for official statistical data with MGM Resorts International.

As it turns out, that was only the tip of the iceberg. Individual teams in states with legalized sports betting are also getting in on the action with their own deals.

This month also saw:

  • The NFL’s New York Jets — which play their home games in sports betting-friendly New Jersey — signed a sponsorship deal with 888 Casino.
  • Caesars Entertainment found willing partners in both the NHL’s New Jersey Devils and the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers for its own marketing deal. In the case of the Devils, the agreement includes a second sports betting lounge inside the team’s Prudential Center arena. The first will be William Hill-branded in a deal signed the week prior. Fans will be able to make bets through the respective sportsbooks’ apps within the lounges.
  • The Jets signed a second deal during the week, this time with MGM Resorts International as their official gaming partner. The relationship will include a free-to-play predictive game within the Jets’ official app entitled “I Called It” that will offer prizes and other giveaways.
  • To cap off things off, the focus fittingly was on the “O.G.” of U.S.-based sports betting — Nevada. Caesars Entertainment signed a 15-year agreement that makes it an initial founding partner of the forthcoming state-of-the-art home of the Las Vegas Raiders. The stadium is expected to be ready by the start of the 2020 season.

Money, as it always has, talks

Leagues and teams only occasionally flirted with the gaming industry as a whole prior to the eradication of PASPA. A few teams did have sponsorship agreements with local casinos. However, with sports betting essentially limited to just Nevada, the possibility of a marketing agreement with a sportsbook was a moot point — there weren’t any outside of the Silver State.

Therefore, the leagues had the luxury of pretending that point spreads, over/unders and the like were more or less dirty words that were never uttered or thought about. Yet all the while, an unquantifiable but relevant chunk of the audience on each of their games had some action riding on the contest, whether legally or not.

As it turns out, the progressive legalization of sports betting is not only bringing the public’s widespread craving for the activity out of the shadows — it’s shining a light on the voracious appetite the leagues and their teams have for it as well. In the latter case, the appeal comes in the significant amount of revenue and cross-promotion that the agreements they’re inking at a breakneck pace can bring.

Perks and features of new deals to be felt at fan level

And some of the details in these newly-forged alliances have the potential to reshape and enhance the way that fans experience both their local teams and local casinos. The Devils’ implementation of two sports betting-themed lounges with televisions and odds boards is one such new amenity.

MGM’s agreement to extend “expanded hospitality offerings” at their properties to Jets season ticket holders is another. The thought of Gang Green superfan Fireman Ed getting a complimentary aromatherapy massage to relieve the stress of attending games at MetLife Stadium brings quite the chuckle.

The Vegas stadium deal for Caesars takes things to a whole other level. Select Caesars customers and members of the casino’s Total Rewards program will have a chance for VIP dinners on the field, access to a Caesars-branded suite situated overlooking midfield, tours of the stadium and entry into special events at the team’s training facility.

And of course, while none of these new partnerships involve a physical sportsbook being placed inside a team’s arena or stadium, the possibility already exists for fans to place wagers on their mobile devices while at the events themselves in states where it’s legal to do so.

The fact that they’ll often be in sensory overload with respect to the signage, billboards and other forms of exposure for sportsbooks that these marketing deals enable should only help encourage that extra level of engagement.

New Jersey Sports Betting: Which NJ Sportsbook App Is Best For You?

Bill Gelman October 31, 2018
NJ Sportsbook Apps

New Jersey legalized sports betting is expanding at a rapid pace. The sportsbooks available in the Garden State include seven Atlantic City casinos, two racetracks, and eight mobile online products available. And there are more to come.

In this article, we’re going to focus on the mobile apps available in New Jersey. Each of the sites have their strong points, and it really comes down to personal preference and searching for the best odds.

Here is a closer look at the eight options.

DraftKings Sportsbook

Land-based partner: Resorts Atlantic City
Available via: iOS, Android and web browser
Promo: $25 free (no deposit) plus free bet match up to $250 (no promo code needed)

DraftKings, one of two DFS heavyweights to cross over to the sports betting world, surprised many by jumping to the front of the New Jersey mobile sports betting line on Aug. 16 – a full 16 days before MGM went live.

Deposit options are limited compared to others on this list, but PayPal was added as an important option for bettors. The $5 minimum deposit is light on the wallet, but $200 will earn you the full promo amount. . Withdrawals are processed via checks and the Resorts casino cage.

Although the apps are separate, users of the DFS and sports betting sites enjoy the benefit of the sites being linked, including a shared wallet.

You can pretty much place a bet on any sport, cricket and darts included. DraftKings offers a complete menu of betting options, including in-play and cash out options.

The betting carousel is extremely user-friendly. And the geolocation technology is top-notch. If you’re not located in NJ, users will not be able to see the lobby. The app automatically logs users out after a short period of inactivity. Wagers can only be placed online as DraftKings does not have a retail operation.

For more information visit our DraftKings Sportsbook review page.

FanDuel Sportsbook

Land-based partner: Meadowlands Racetrack
Available via: iOS, Android and web browser
Promo: Risk-free bet up to $500 for new bettors

FanDuel, another big-time player in the DFS world, merged with Paddy Power Betfair’s U.S. operations, resulting in the “largest online sports destination in the United States.” Name recognition is key, and so is having a strong sportsbook app.

There are several deposit and withdrawal options at FanDuel Sportsbook, making it easy to get in the action. The promo bonus is enough to attract attention, but several others are offering higher amounts.

Bettors can wager on all of the popular sports, and those not quite as popular. The full menu of betting options includes everything from moneyline to round robins, and of course the previously talked about in-play betting.

The live scoreboard feature allows users to track wagers and updated odds, with easy links to in-game bets. Sports betting rookies can take advantage of the informative FanDuel training camp.

For more information visit our FanDuel Sportsbook review page.

BetStars Sportsbook

Land-based partner: Resorts
Available via: iOS, Android; web browser in the works
Promo: New players earn up to $500 in free bets

The sports betting product is the newest under the Stars Group umbrella, joining the already established PokerStars NJ and PokerStars Casino.

The eight deposit methods ($10 minimum) include VISA, MasterCard, PayNearMe, eCheck, and casino cage, offering plenty of customer convenience. There are five withdrawal options.

Wagers are accepted on all the popular sports — football, basketball, baseball, hockey, soccer — and less popular sports such as tennis and cycling. Besides the popular wager options, there are in-game betting and cash out options. Odds boosts are available daily.

Users of the multiple Stars Group platforms have access to a shared wallet available to use in poker/casino and sports betting apps.

The iOS PokerStars NJ app highlights popular games with betting options and other sports posted above. The downside is bets cannot currently be placed via the web browser.

For more information, visit our BetStars how-to guide.

SugarHouse Sportsbook and Casino

Land-based partner: Golden Nugget Atlantic City
Available via: Android, iOS and web browser
Promo: First deposit match up to $250 (Use promo code PLAY250)

The brick-and-mortar SugarHouse calls Philadelphia home, but the digital version is holding its own in New Jersey thanks to its strong affiliation with the Golden Nugget — the state’s Internet/mobile gaming leader. As an added bonus the sportsbook is built into the previously existing casino app (featuring more than 450 table games and slots) for an all-in-one package with a shared wallet.

Users will enjoy the 10 deposit options — four of which can be used for withdrawals. All of the popular American sports are on the board with a variety of betting options available — jackpot parlay included. Everything is easily accessible via the very busy looking lobby, which may be distracting to some as a result of the rotating promo ads and news feed.

Operator Rush Street Interactive has played up the strength of its live betting options for football games with more than 300 offers available the first week of the NFL season. Cash Out option is available, too.

For more information, visit our SugarHouse how-to guide.

888sport

Land-based partner: Caesars Atlantic City
Available via: Android and web browser (iOS coming soon)
Promo: $10 Free Bonus (no deposit needed); First deposit match up to $500

888 Holdings continues to go all in with its New Jersey mobile/online offerings as 888sport joins 888poker and 888 Casino. 888 bills its sports betting platform as “among the finest in the world.” It was the seventh sports betting platform to go live in NJ. Users have access to a shared wallet between sports betting, poker, and casino.

Customers can choose between eight deposit options along with five withdrawal methods. The welcome promo is currently among the best being offered.

There is a full menu of popular pro and international sports all types of wagers available, in-game betting included. Everything is easily accessible from the lobby that includes a running scoreboard of current games.

iOS users will need to wait a tad longer as the web browser still has the “coming soon message.”

For more information, visit our 888sport how-to guide.

William Hill

Land-based partners: Monmouth Park and Ocean Casino Resort
Available via: Android, iOS and web browser
Promo: $50 cash after reaching $50 in total bets

William Hill is investing heavily in New Jersey with retail operations at Monmouth Park (where New Jersey’s first legal sports bet was accepted) and Ocean Casino Resort, with another one in the works at the Tropicana.

William Hill’s hard push in NJ comes as no surprise being that they bill themselves as “America’s sports betting leader.” Besides operating 100-plus sportsbooks in Nevada, the company rolled out the New Jersey version of its Android and web browser platforms in time for the NFL season. The iOS app was launched in late September 2018.

The deposit and withdrawal methods are a bit limited compared to some competitors, but William Hill has been doing this for a long time, so the system is working. All of the major sports are on the board with a full variety of betting options, live betting included. Everything is easily accessible from the lobby.

The welcome promo is not as attractive as others — $50 in free money compared to much larger deposit matches at 888sport, BetStars and DraftKings.

Web browser users may experience some confusion if connected to the informational williamhill.us/new-jersey website, which includes links to the Nevada version of the app. Customer service representatives are in hand to help resolve the issue. Instead of searching Google Play, Android users will have an easier time downloading the app via nj.us.williamhill.com/betting/en-us.

Caesars Sportsbook

Land-based partner: Caesars Atlantic City
Available via: Android, iOS and web browser
Promo: $25 free

One thing missing from the Caesars Atlantic City property is a retail sportsbook. But sister properties Harrah’s and the connected Bally’s do have one. The flagship property took a different route by rolling out its mobile/online product first, and it’s combined with the previously existing casino app.

Besides the eight deposit methods, the lobby features a full menu of sports wagers grouped by sport, MLB, NBA and NCAA football games take center stage, but it’s easy to filter personal preferences.

Bettors will find money lines, point spreads, parlays, futures, teasers, and props, but in-game and cash out features are not included at this time.

Total Rewards members will enjoy the added perk of earning tier credits.

playMGM Sportsbook

Land-based partner: Borgata
Available via: Android devices
Promo: None at this time

The Borgata is the top-performing casino in Atlantic City and is regularly ahead of the pack with its offerings. The MGM-owned property was ready to go with its retail operation the first day sports bets were accepted in New Jersey. Some were likely surprised that the playMGM Sports Android app was not the first to launch. For now, it’s completely separate from the casino and poker apps.

While MGM has name recognition, the app seems extremely basic compared to the Las Vegas version that is designed with strong graphics. The betting options are displayed within the individual sports menus. Users will not be able to access the lobby without creating/logging into account — another difference from the Las Vegas version. No deposit is required to check out the app.

Seven available deposit options make it easy to get in the game.

The biggest remaining question is when, as in when will the app be available to iOS and web browser users? Combined with a lack of a promo offer, bettors may find others options on this list more attractive.

William Hill And Vegas Golden Knights Consummate Inevitable Partnership

Chops September 19, 2018
William Hill

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.

Get $20 Of Free Play at DraftKings!

Cashing Tickets: Bettor Turns $5 Into $84,565 With NFL Week 2 Parlay Card

Marc Meltzer September 18, 2018
Parlay

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.

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.

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.

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 Futures Prices Differ Significantly From Other Sportsbooks

John Mehaffey June 8, 2018
Delaware Futures

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
Patriots
+500+600+600+625
Eagles+450+850+1000+800
Steelers+1000+1200+1000+1200
Vikings+1100+1000+1000+1000
Falcons+2200+1200+1600+2200
Packers+1000+1000
+1400
+1400
Rams
+1200
+800
+1000
+1200
Saints
+1600
+1700
+1800
+1600
Jaguars
+2000
+2000
+1600
+2000
Cowboys
+2500
+2800
+3000
+3300
49ers
+1200
+1000
+2000
+2000
Raiders
+1800
+1200
+1800
+3300
Panthers
+4000
+4500+4000+4000
Seahawks
+6000
+6000
+5000
+5000
Texans
+2200
+2200
+1600
+2000
Chiefs
+2200
+2500
+2000
+3300
Chargers
+2500
+2000
+1600
+2000
Lions
+3500
+4000
+4000
+5000
Titans
+2800
+2800
+2500
+5000
Ravens
+3500
+6000
+5000
+4000
Bucs
+10000
+10000
+10000
+6600
Broncos
+4000
+4000
+4000
+3300
Cardinals
+7500
+10000
+10000
+7500
Giants
+3000
+4000
+4000
+2800
Bills
+12500
+10000
+8000
+8000
Dolphins
+10000
+10000
+8000
+10000
Redskins
+7500
+10000
+10000
+7500
Colts
+7500
+10000
+6000
+5000
Bengals
+10000+12500
+8000
+10000
Bears
+12500
+7500
+6000
+10000
Jets
+10000
+10000
+8000
+10000
Browns
+12500
+7500
+8000
+6600
Vig29.37%
28.35%
25.41%
19.40%

Consensus

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.

NFL Draft Props: A Cautionary Tale Of Legal Gambling

Marc Meltzer May 2, 2018
NFL Draft Props

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.

Tropicana Sale Could Open Doors For William Hill All Over The Country

Marc Meltzer April 16, 2018
William Hill

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:

  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • Iowa
  • Louisiana
  • Missouri
  • Mississippi
  • Nevada
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • West Virginia

The acquisition of Tropicana will add casinos in New Jersey and Indiana. Eldorado Resorts also announced that they have purchased Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin, IL.

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:

  • Indiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • 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.

Place Your Esports Bets In Las Vegas: Downtown Grand, William Hill To Offer First Legal Wagers In US

Dustin Gouker November 18, 2016
Esports betting in Las Vegas is now officially on the big board.

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).

The Downtown Grand has been a leader in the esports vertical as home to a specialty esports venue. It continues that leadership role with the decision to move ahead with esports wagering.

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.”

Image c/o TriFaMusicNerdEntOgrapher / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0