William Hill to Sell On-Course Betting Interests as US Battles Intensify

Bookmaker William Hill is fighting battles on two continents following reports that its looking to sell its racing interests in the UK and regain control over its content in the US.

William Hill racing

William Hill on-course betting terminals could be sold off as the company battles for supremacy in the US. (Image: Twitter/WillHillRacing)

According to a recent report by The Guardian newspaper, William Hill could be on the brink of selling its on-course pitches at the UK’s leading racing venues. Although unconfirmed at this stage, speculation suggests that a deal with a major rival could net the operator around £2.5 million from the selloff.

Online Activity Killing On-Course Bookies

The reason for selling its on-course pitches is mainly due to the rise of internet betting. As UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) statistics have shown, remote betting is now the largest source of income for the industry.

In line with this, William Hill has been pushing to expand its online operations both at home and abroad. In May 2018, the company reported a 12 percent upswing in online revenue, success it has since parlayed into a deal with US gaming brand, Golden Entertainment.

With interest in on-course betting waning and William Hill looking to expand its presence online, a sale will not only allow it to reassign vial resources but become more of a global brand.

However, while any potential sale would pave the way for more moves in the US, the road to supremacy looks as though it will be anything but smooth. As competition to capitalise on Professional And Amateur Sports Protection Act’s (PASPA) demise intensifies, rivalries are starting to emerge.

Transatlantic Battle for William Hill

At the centre of the latest legal battle is William Hill and FanDuel. In a suit filed with the New Jersey District Court, lawyers for the former allege that FanDuel plagiarised William Hill’s betting content.

After taking the Garden State’s first official sports bet at Monmouth Park in June, William Hill published a “how to” betting guide. In the civil complaint filed on October 23, the operator says FanDuel copied the document and went on to distribute it at another New Jersey racecourse,  Meadowlands.

As per the filing, the documents not only used William Hill’s advice on how to bet, but featured identical images, charts and examples. What’s more, a page in FanDuel’s guide is also said to feature its rival’s logo.

Despite attempts by ESPN to shed some light on the situation, FanDuel has declined to comment. However, CEO of William Hill US Joe Asher has said the copyright infringement is “ridiculous” but not something the company wants to profit from.

“If the court finds in favour, a portion of the proceeds will fund scholarships for creative writing programs at New Jersey universities,” Asher told the media.

As sports betting in the US evolves, gamesmanship between the leading operators is bound to increase. For William Hill, this means diverting attention away from certain UK ventures and focusing on activity stateside.

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