Tuesday, 4 August 2020

William Hill Opens Sportsbooks In Illinois And Washington D.C.

Online Betting

William Hill has launched new retail sportsbooks in Illinois and Washington D.C., expanding its presence within the country.

This week marked William Hill’s debut in the Illinois gambling market after launching a brand new retail sportsbook at the Grand Victoria Casino Elgin in the US State in partnership with Caesars Entertainment.

According to IGB North America, the brand new sportsbook can be found beside the main casino floor and it features three full-service ticket windows, plenty of seating, several televisions which air various sporting games and events throughout the day, and high-top tables.

The sportsbook is open seven days a week between 10 AM and 10 PM and is part of William Hill’s expansion into the Illinois gambling market. Currently, the venue is following COVID-19 guidelines by implementing a “thorough protocol” regarding cleaning to ensure that both employees and guests remain safe.

Speaking about the launch of the sportsbook, David Grolman, the President of Operations for William Hill, said: “Grand Victoria Casino is located just outside of Chicago – where some of the most passionate sports fans in the country live. I’m looking forward to seeing the community come together to watch their favourite teams as we welcome back the return of our favourite professional sports.”

Bill Gustafson, the Senior Vice President and General Manager at Grand Victoria Casino, added: “Partnering with the country’s leading sports betting operator allows us to offer our customers an elevated experience that features industry-leading wagering and technology. The sportsbook is in a prime location that will draw sports fans in and keep them engaged as they cheer on their favourite teams.”

The Washington Sportsbook

As mentioned, William Hill has also launched a retail sportsbook in Washington D.C. The sportsbook, which is temporary for the time being, is located inside the Capital One Arena Box Office. The venue features seven ticket windows and 10 kiosks to place wagers but is smaller in size compared to the venue launched in Illinois.

William Hill has confirmed that they are working on establishing a permanent retail sportsbook in the area and are waiting for regulatory approval. The firm hopes that the permanent venue will open later this year.

William Hill couldn’t have chosen a better location for the venue as the Capital One Arena is home to NBA team the Washington Wizards, WNBA team the Washington Mystics, and NHL team the Washington Capitals; all of which are sponsored by William Hill through its partnership with the Monumental Sports & Entertainment (MSE) group which owns the teams and arena.

Speaking about the launch of this sportsbook, William Hill’s US Chief Executive Joe Asher said in a statement: “Washington, D.C. is known for its dedicated sports fans, and we’re excited to finally bring them a new way to engage with their favourite teams. Our teams are working hard to finalise the permanent sportsbook, restaurant, and bar concept we originally envisioned inside the arena.”

William Hill’s new openings in Washington and Illinois aren’t the first in the country as the British bookmaker has also opened venues in Colorado at the Isle Casino Hotel and the Lady Luck Casino in Black Hawk.

Las Vegas & Coronavirus

Much of the United States has reopened or is currently in the process of reopening. Las Vegas, the country’s hot spot for gambling, began reopening back in June and has implemented numerous measures to help protect employees and guests from the COVID-19 virus.

As reported by the Daily Mail, casinos in Vegas have now implemented strict social distancing policies as a maximum of three people are allowed at tables at any time, and the venues have installed perplex screens at tills, tills, bars, and casino tables too. What’s more, guests and employees are required to wear masks and there are dozens of hand sanitisation points throughout the casinos.

Although foot traffic has been steadily increasing over the last few months it hasn’t returned to its pre-pandemic levels, and Chad Beyon, the Managing Director of the Macquarie Group believes the city won’t recover from the COVID-19 pandemic until around 2023, according to FocusGN.

A report from the Macquarie Group claims that by 2023, around 41 million people will be visiting Las Vegas per year and the firm predicts visitors will spend around $427 per trip, although that value is still below last years total revenue.

Casinos In The UK

While casinos across Las Vegas may be open, venues across the UK have been running into problems. Last month, the British government announced that all casino venues would be allowed to open from August 1st but fell back on their decision after a string of new coronavirus cases emerged in Northern England.

The delay came after the UK government reinstated COVID-19 lockdown measures in Greater Manchester, East Lancashire, and parts of West Yorkshire, preventing different households from visiting each other inside their homes. This led the government to delay casino reopenings to August 15th. However, betting shops and bingo halls have been open since June 15th and July 4th.

The decision was criticised by the Gaming and Betting Council who warned that the delay could cause permanent damage to the gambling industry in the UK, and that it could lead to the loss of around 6,000 jobs within the industry.

Several gambling brands have already announced closures and job losses due to the COVID-19 lockdown. Buzz Bingo has confirmed the closure of 26 of its UK venues, Genting Casino has announced that it will be cutting around 1,600 jobs, and Grosvenor Casino has revealed it too will be cutting jobs.

Meanwhile, the BGC has continued to campaign for the reopening of casinos in Scotland for the last few months. Scotland has already allowed the reopening of betting shops but faced criticism last month after banning betting shops from turning on gaming machines days after announcing they could. Casino venues are set to open in Scotland from August 24 and betting shops will be allowed to turn on their gaming machines too.

Venues in Wales haven’t yet been given the green light to open and with British casino reopenings delayed for two weeks, it’ll be a while before brick-and-mortar gambling picks up again.