William Hill Pulls out of Australia

William Hill Pulls out of Australia

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William Hill, the British bookmaker, has decided to close down its sports betting services to Australian gamblers, in a move believed to be linked to its efforts to obtain a coveted e-gambling license in Nevada USA.

While William Hill has made no official statement relating to its business Down Under, customers have said that they received an email from the group stating the following:

"Please be advised that we have taken the decision to withdraw our sports betting service for any customer registered in Australia."

These customers were advised to make a withdrawal of their funds from the cashier section of the website.

William Hill Wants Nevada Gambling License

Analysts say that William Hill’s departure from Australia’s sports betting market is almost certainly due to its desire to have its application for an online gambling license approved by authorities in Nevada.

As the Nevada Gaming Control Board goes through the many applications it received, one of the things it looks out for is the gambling group’s full compliance with local gambling laws.

While no company has ever been penalized for violating Australia’s Interactive Gaming Act of 2001, the dry letter of the law states that it is illegal for a company to provide casino and poker games to Australia gamblers.

As such, the Nevada authorities may see William Hill’s involvement in Australia as a technical violation of the country’s gambling laws.

Nevada’s authorities will hold an initial hearing on William Hill’s purchase of three US bookmakers today (Wednesday). The group purchased American Wagering Inc, Brandywine Bookmaking and Club Cal Neva Satellite Race and Sportsbook last year, for a total cost of US $53 million.

William Hill Relationship with Playtech Questioned

Another concern is that the Nevada authorities will reject William Hill’s application due to its joint business venture with Playtech, whose founder once spent several months in prison for fraud.

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The Chief Executive Officer of William Hill, Ralph Topping confirmed that the group’s relationship with Playtech had been probed by the Nevada Gaming Board.

The Gaming Control Board will need to give its recommendation to the Nevada Gaming Commission regarding William Hill’s application, and discussions will be held on June 21st.

According to David Schwartz, gambling analyst, William Hill pulling out of Australia and halting its sports betting services, even as the local sports betting markets are undergoing reforms in regulation, was directly linked to its pursuit of a Nevada license.

"Clearly, this is a priority for them, Nevada," he said.

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