A 1992 law bans sports betting in the United States. It’s just that lately there are more and more indications that the American market will open soon and will legislate in several states. One of the largest international bookmakers, William Hill, is ready to cash in the big pot when that happens.
It’s a February night. In the new 20,000-seat arena in southern Las Vegas, the Vegas Golden Knights ice hockey team plays against the Edmonton Oilers. When the Knights scored the second goal, everyone burst into cheers. “The arena has cost us a lot of money,” said Joe Asher, CEO of William Hill USA, the business of the British betting house William Hill, one of the largest in the world.
The famous British bookmaker – it owns a quarter of the bookmakers in the UK – has been on the US market only since 2012. It currently operates 108 of the 190 bookmakers in the US and has a 30% stake in $ 250 million in sports betting bets in Nevada.
And the passion for hockey in Las Vegas is auspicious for those at William Hill. Since 2016, the National Ice Hockey League (NHL) takes place here as well. So late because Las Vegas has always been seen as too risky because of the highly developed gambling industry here, but also because of the possibility of parties being arranged. Well, overcoming this taboo is partly one of the reasons why Asher is confident that the legal sports betting industry will gain ground outside of Nevada. As a result, William Hill USA is already taking steps to expand its operations to other states.
Across the United States, attitudes toward this industry are changing. In a 2017 poll by the Washington Post, support for legalized sports betting reached 55 percent, for the first time when the 50% threshold is exceeded. “The American market will open,” Asher said. And it could happen soon.
THE STRUGGLE FOR REGULATION. In December, the US Supreme Court heard an appeal by New Jersey seeking an amendment to federal law restricting this business. Since 2011, the American state has been trying to introduce sports betting in the offer of casinos and horse racing.
He has been blocked by a series of lawsuits filed by the National Athletes Association and the four major American sports leagues – the National Football League (NFL), the Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Hockey League (NHL). . They claim that such initiatives violate the Law for the Protection of Professional and Amateur Sports (PASPA), which has banned sports betting since its adoption in 1992. Only Nevada (sports betting has been part of the casino offer since 1975) has licensed bookmakers. However, New Jersey claims that PASPA is unconstitutional. State authorities argue that the federal government can regulate sports betting directly or leave it to states to do so, but that, according to Amendment 10, they cannot impose on them how to legislate certain areas.