|William Hill US Market Invasion Hits Stumbling Block|
Leading UK bookmaker William Hill saw its venture into the US market stalled in Nevada this week as the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) delayed its decision for granting the company a gaming licence.
There is strong speculation that the reason behind the delay is due to William Hill’s previous involvement in a market abuse case which the NGCB is taking very seriously.
The NGCB meets every month and it is believed that the progress of William Hill’s application is not even believed to be included on the agenda for the meeting this May.
William Hill confirmed that it had made an application to the NGCB after it confirmed that it was acquiring land-based sport betting premises belonging to companies such as American Wagering, Brandywine and Cal Neva Sportsbook but a decision had been expected to be made on the bookmaker’s application a long time ago.
The continued delay is causing concern for William Hill and now raises the question of whether the bookmaker will even be granted a gaming licence. If William Hill is not granted the gaming licence it would severely damage its hopes of invading the US market with online gambling legislation in a state of flux.
A source in Nevada played down the delay citing an importance of other issues. The source said "We were definitely expecting this on the GCB agenda in April or May. There seem to be a couple of issues the GCB needs to explore."
William Hill CEO Ralph Topping was also quick to assure shareholders saying "Our application is currently being reviewed and we believe the process could complete by the summer of 2012."
The market abuse case that is the concern for the delay revolves around Robin Chhabra, William Hill’s Head of Strategy and Corporate Development, after he was fined £95,000 by the Financial Services Authority for market abuse.
It remains to be seen if this will have a major impact on William Hill’s gaming licence application to the NGCB but the fact that a decision still appears to be months rather than weeks away is a huge concern for the British bookmaker.
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