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William Hill has revealed its plans to launch a US online casino during the second half of the year.
The sports betting giant has seen its US net revenue fall by 90% since the cancellation of sports, with its retail footprint shut down entirely. Hills, however, says it has been using the downtime wisely.
“Product development has accelerated throughout the period, and we will be launching online casino in the second half of the year,” the company said in a trading update on Friday.
While the William Hill online casino will debut in New Jersey, CEO Ulrik Bengtsson said it would ultimately launch in every state in which it’s legal. That would make the Pennsylvania and Michigan online casino markets the next logical targets.
Analysts asked Bengtsson about the tech and brand for the product, but he remained tight-lipped. He has, however, previously suggested a casino brand would bear the William Hill name thanks to the investment in the brand via its partnership with CBS Sports.
“Casino will be helpful as we go on without sports,” Bengtsson said. “I’ve seen the first demo of the product and I’m confident it will be ready soon.
“The regulatory approvals are the unknown and the reason we are being cautious in saying the second half of the year. But it will be a good product and very competitive.”
Recent results from NJ illustrate the importance of online gambling in a world impacted by a pandemic like COVID-19.
Sports betting handle was down 82% year-on-year in April, but NJ online casino revenue more than doubled to $75 million. Even traditional sports brands, like FanDuel and DraftKings, have delivered significant online casino revenue thanks to the power of cross-selling.
As Bengtsson put it, “We have only been online in half the New Jersey market. We would assume that deploying a product in the other half would help us increase market share.”