British bookmaker William Hill recently made headlines when it opened its first-ever sportsbook in Washington D.C. The company, a major bookmaker in the UK, has expanded heavily over the past decade to take advantage of growing international demand for sports betting.
In its first month of activity, the D.C.-based sportsbook, which is located inside the Capital One Arena, reported $9.1 million of activity — a figure significantly higher than total betting activity at many long established, competing sportsbooks serting the region.
Over the course of the month, the sportsbook processed a total of 69,085 bets and paid out an impressive $7.7 million to customers generating $1.4 million in total revenue.
Figures such as these are particularly impressive considering the company’s Washington D.C. sportsbook is currently a temporary facility, with a permanent sportsbook being built within the inside of the stadium in order to better serve customers.
William Hill’s D.C.-based operation is part of a partnership with US brand Monumental Sports and Entertainment, a sports and entertainment company operated by American investor Ted Leonsis.
Monumental owns several Washington D.C. area sports teams, with the Washington Wizards NBA team and Washington Capitals NHL franchise part of its sports portfolio.
Sports betting is a significant, growing industry, both in the UK and internationally. The American market has long been a major target for UK-based bookmakers thanks to its incredible size and the country’s high level of interest in competitive sports.
Interest has grown significantly in the wake of legal decisions in the UK that have paved the way for a large-scale betting industry outside of traditional centers such as Las Vegas.
In 2018, the United States Supreme Court reversed a federal statute that limited sports betting to the state of Nevada. As of May 14th, a total of 18 states that include upwards of 30 per cent of the US population now allow regulated sports betting.
In the two years since the law change, more than $20 billion has been wagered with US-based sportsbooks — a figure that dwarfs the estimated £8 to £14 million bet in the UK on all forms of gambling, despite only a small percentage of US states currently allowing sports betting.
As more states begin to legalise regulated sports betting, experts predict that the total amount of money bet on sporting events will grow significantly, creating a fast-growing, lucrative market for established international sportsbooks.
Data shows that despite the establishment of offline sportsbooks, the majority of sports betting in the United States occurs online. According to ESPN, approximately 84 per cent of the $4.6 billion wagered via New Jersey sportsbooks during 2019 took place online.
In addition to sports betting, American consumers have long been interested in online gambling in general, with casino games and other forms of betting attracting significant attention over the past several decades.
Aiming to tap into the large, prosperous American market, many European live casino operators have expanded their offerings to appeal to non-EU customers, adding slots and table games for specific international markets.
Many of these brands offer a live casino experience, with live dealers in place of the quieter and less personalised experience offered by many other casinos and betting companies.
With regulations changing across the United States, operators other than William Hill are paying more attention to the American market, with both bookmakers and casino brands aiming to take as much market share as possible.
As the bookmaker’s successful D.C. launch shows, the possibilities are significant, resulting in a lucrative industry for bookmakers and a larger selection of options for sports betting enthusiasts in the United States.