SBR analyst Natalie Rydstrom reports on the latest from the iGaming and land-based gaming sector. Natalie discusses WillHill's plans to setup shop in Nevada, UK responsible gambling, and Utah's new anti-gambling piece of legislation.
This week , Where there's a Will there a way . . or maybe not? Has William Hills licence been delayed? Also, how one Great country quest to promote resposible gaming and finally, US-Facing poker networks response to Utah's anti-gaming bill.
Hi, this is Natalie Rydstrom with Fridays iGaming Industry update.
Favourite UK bookie, William Hill is probably sat on the edge of their seats right now, as they await approval from the Nevada's Gaming Control Board regulators to consider their application for a gaming license. Will Hill expects that the approval will be granted in October of this year but before this happens, the Nevada regulators are inspecting every single element of the business before the license is issued. Ralph Topping, chief Exec of Will Hill, wrote on his blog last year, ‘I've been through licensing processes before but, I have to say, nothing as extensive as this. And it's not only at a corporate level that we're investigated and scrutinised, but at the personal level too. I haven't felt this closely assessed since I met my prospective father-in-law for the first time!!"
Whether or not this license will be granted is still up for debate however, as local speculation suggests there are two points of concern right now, the first is Will Hills ties to Playtech and their short but colourful history, the second is Robin Chhabra, William Hill's head of strategy and corporate development, who was the driving force behind the Nevada acquisitions. In 2010 the former equity analyst was fined a hundred and fifty thousand dollars by the Financial Services Authority for market abuse after he "passed confidential information" to a friend. Still up for debate is Hills confident October date! Despite them telling shareholders that the licensing process would be completed by then, it does not appear on the Nevada Gaming Control Board agenda for May. Will they won't they, only time will tell!
The Responsible gaming trust launched earlier this week in the UK to minimize the levels of problem gambling in Great Britain. The new charitable organization was formed by the merger of the Responsible Gambling Fund and the Gambling, Research, Education and Treatment Foundation, also known as GREAT. Marc Etches, Chief Executive Officer for Responsible Gambling Trust has said that, "The purpose of the merger is to streamline the fundraising and distribution process thereby maximising the money raised from the gambling industry in Britain to minimise problem gambling and gambling-related harm in British society through effective education and prevention techniques, which stop people getting into problems with their gambling, and ensuring that those that do develop problems receive fast and effective treatment and support," If all goes to plan then perhaps RGT could be a blue-print for the rest of the world!
And finally, a quick update from Utah. Following Utah's Representative Stephen Sandstrom's anti-gambling bill last month, US-Facing poker networks Cake and Merger are now blocking new sign-ups from the residents of the beehive state. However we have been informed that players who already registered with the sites on either network will be allowed to continue to play