Dan Shapiro discusses future of William Hill in Nevada

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Dan Shapiro has got to be sick of hearing from me.

You see, Shapiro is the public relations source for William Hill, the chain of sports books in Nevada that has been operating for three whole weeks. I have been peppering him regularly with questions, most of which he won’t answer by either confirming or denying the rumors I’ve heard.

The quiet approach is quite understandable because with the 164 combined sports books of Leroy’s, Cal-Neva and Lucky’s merging into one monstrous force that controls over 55% of the market place, you have to be careful what you say and how you say it in the early stages.

Shapiro has done an outstanding job of being cordial in a situation where, if I was his place, I might have not even answered the calls.

During my most recent discussion with Shapiro, I explained my fascination with William Hill. This is a big deal in Nevada, one of the most unique situations to have ever occurred in the sports book industry. We’ve got the top English bookmaker now operating in America and they have the most sports books in the state under their control. I want to know more.

With that comes a lot of questions regarding what is going to happen moving forward with the company. Obviously, there have to be some changes. Who stays with William Hill and who will be let go? When will the William Hill logo fly at all 164 locations? And what are some of their future plans to make a splash during football season?

Shapiro confirmed changes to their web-sites where all three books have been merged into one site. The mobile phone application Leroy’s started will now be offered to all customers at all the locations and the house rules have all been united and approved by gaming.

However, Shapiro was mum on the question of changes in staffing, whether their tellers throughout the state will be wearing ties, and football promotions.

I have heard there is kind of a D-Day set for July 16 where several key members in the former operations of Lucky’s, Leroy’s and Cal-Neva will be let go. The bookmaking team will be announced with one central William Hill line taking place. This has not been confirmed or denied, but regardless of the date, it is inevitable.

While asking some of these questions of Shapiro, I went deeper into football promotions, more so with my take on it than waiting for questions to be answered.

What bigger way is there to make a North American splash than using football season as their main platform either by offering an enormous contest or a gimmick that keeps them in the news weekly?

For a contest to really make a splash, it would have to be comparable to Station Casinos $1 million prize or Coast Resorts $500,000 free football contest. Anything less wouldn’t carry the bang required and would also diminish the William Hill crown in Nevada despite having so many books.

The problem with a contest is William Hill books are leased outlets and the benefit of spending $1 million is the spillover play in slot machines and table games on a weekly basis. Station Casinos and Coast Resorts marketing departments spend their money through slots rather than the sports books taking the hit on their ledgers.

So a big contest seems unlikely just because they might not be able to justify that type of marketing expense.

The promotion I could see working well would be the progressive parlay card Lucky’s used the last three years that allows bettors to make a $5 bet on the games with no point spread on a pot that starts at $10,000. If no one hits a perfect card, a portion of all bets taken on the card carries over to the next week.

The largest payout Lucky’s had was $48,000. By having 164 different books, the jackpot could start at a much higher figure like $30,000 and progressive payouts could approach $100,000 regularly.

Now that would be big!

We’ll keep you updated on the major moves about to happen at William Hill as they happen.





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