William Hill Continues Investing Despite Takeover Rumours
British gambling giant William Hill may be subject to a potential £3 billion takeover by 888 Holdings and Rank Group, but that has not stopped them from continuing with a “business as usual” attitude judging by the recent investments by the company.
William Hill has acquired Grand Parade, a betting and gaming digital solutions company, for a fee of £13.5 million. The highly competitive and potentially lucrative online gambling and gaming market is one that William Hill admits to having fallen behind its competitors, so this acquisition should help to bridge that gap.
Interim chief executive of William Hill, Philip Bowcock, said of the acquisition, “Bringing the Grand Parade team into William Hill will rapidly ramp up the scale of our development team by backfilling existing resource gaps and also enhance our creative capabilities.”
“This enables us to capitalise on the potential of our Trafalgar front-end platform by accelerating our product development and also to support the work with OpenBet to build our new back-end platform.”
William Hill Becomes the Official Betting Partner of Two Premier League Teams
In addition to purchasing Grand Parade, William Hill has signed deals with two English Premier League teams, which seems them become the clubs’ official betting partner.
Everton were the first team that William Hill joined forces with. Their deal sees William Hill branding placement on interview backdrops, and LED advertising boards inside Everton’s Goodison Park stadium.
The other team is London’s Tottenham Hotspur, and this sees William Hill have a presence on Tottenham’s digital channels, and on pitch side advertising boards.
Both deals run for two seasons, and William Hill promises to run team-specific promotions, and offer special prizes to fans of both Everton and Tottenham.
William Hill are not the first team to tap into the huge audiences of the Premier League. The English top division is one of the most-watched football leagues in the world, while Tottenham will also feature in the UEFA Champions League during the 2016-17 season, further enhancing the potential reach of the advertising deal.
Several Premier League teams have gambling companies as their principle shirt sponsors, including AFC Bournemouth and Crystal Palace, while almost all of them have an official betting partner in some capacity.
In November 2014, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) issued a warning to sports teams regarding being sponsored by non-licensed gambling sites.
At that time, Arsenal FC had Bodog – who are unlicensed in the UK — listed as a partner, but the Bodog logo is no longer found on the official Arsenal website. An article in the Financial Times in 2014 suggested Premier League teams could lose up to £90 million in revenue because of the UKGC’s stance.
William Hill to Provide Gambling Data to the Scottish FA
William Hill has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Scottish Football Association, complementing a similar agreement with the English Football Association.
Under the agreement, William Hill exchanges information with the governing bodies in relation to suspected betting irregularities, in an attempt to spot issues such as insider betting and match fixing.
Betfair is another gambling company that has a similar agreement in place with several sports’ governing bodies, including horse racing and tennis. If they see unusual betting patterns, they suspend betting on that particular market, and inform the relevant authorities.