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William Hill’s Torrid US Expansion Continues With Move Into Michigan

European sports betting operator William Hill hasn't been shy lately about their desire to expand in the growing US sports betting market. We can add Michigan to the states with which the bookmaker has a presence with the signing of an agreement with the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians in the state.

The deal makes William Hill the exclusive provider of online sports betting and casino gaming for the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa tribe in Michigan. The long-term partnership allows William Hill to expand its US reach and allows the tribe the ability to launch both online casino gaming and sports betting services when permitted under Michigan regulations.

Commenting on William Hill's move into Michigan, Ulrik Bengtsson, CEO of William Hill said: “Michigan will be a key state in William Hill’s US expansion due to its large population and deep rooted-sports culture with so many popular college and pro sports teams.”

The plan

It was only December 2019 that Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed a Bill that would allow for legal online sports betting and online casinos. Rules and regulations for such platforms are still a bit of a work in progress meaning that the partnership doesn't quite know what the end product will look like.

But under the agreement, the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa, along with William Hill, will open a retail sportsbook sometime this year at the Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel. The William Hill Sports Book will be located in the current Onyx Sports Bar at Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel and will have a satellite location at Leelanau Sands Casino. Target opening date is just prior to the 2020-2021 NFL season.

“We are pleased to have found a great partner in the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians and look forward to working with the Tribe to bring a leading retail and online sports betting experience to sports fans in Michigan,” said Joe Asher, CEO of William Hill US.

Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa gains…

William Hill is a relatively big catch for the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa. Not only is William Hill a major player in the US but it is an established global name. PointsBet, PokerStars and Fox Bet also have deals in place to provide sports betting in Michigan but William Hill is the first on the board with an actual plan.

Michael Schrader, chief executive of the Grand Traverse Resort & Casinos, said: “William Hill’s expertise in sports betting operations and marketing and strategic media partnerships will ensure that we are able to attract customers from throughout the State of Michigan to the online products while offering another great amenity to attract guests to our casinos.”

The William Hill reach

The European-based sportsbook has made quite a name for itself in the US since the May 2018 Supreme Court decision to overturn the ban on sports betting. Over the last 20 months, William Hill has made its presence felt in Nevada, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Rhode Island, and West Virginia in varying capacities.

The company has a deal in place to be the sports betting operator at the Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C. and is ready to put the final touches on a deal with media behemoth, CBS Sports in which the media company's 42 million monthly visitors would have immediate exposure to the William Hill brand.

William Hill’s expansion in the US was able to mitigate revenue losses in Europe in 2019 so it stands to reason that the company isn’t likely to slow in 2020. With the wind at their backs, expect a lot more from William Hill this year and beyond.