William Hill seeks mobile boost with Probability

POSTED BY Global Administrator
The news that William Hill is in talks to buy the UK-based (but Gibraltar-licensed) Probability provides the clearest evidence yet of the bookmaker’s intent to strengthen its hand in the mobile sector and to deliver a suite a products to compete with those of rival Ladbrokes. William Hill has already made significant strides in this regard – in August, the company announced that gross win from mobile sportsbook in the first half of 2011 had increased by more than 600% y-o-y, and that for the second quarter it accounted for more than 8% of total online sportsbook gross win. However, in this regard (and in terms of total return from the mobile channel) it still lags some way behind Ladbrokes, for which mobile accounted for 11% of wagers (and a similar amount of gross win) in the first three months of the year, and generated nearly £7 million in gross win over the first six months, approximately twice that of William Hill. Back in July, William Hill had relaunched its mobile site – mobet.williamhill.com – using a platform provided by Mobenga. However, if the acquisition of Probability goes ahead, it could enable William Hill to bring the technology side under its own roof. (This was – broadly – the route taken by Betfair some five years ago, when it purchased the betting software assets of the Scottish firm Rapid Mobile; it is worth pointing out that for all Betfair’s travails overall, its mobile arm is performing very nicely, thank you, realising £4.2 million in revenue for the firm in the three months to July 31.) Anyway, so much for the British mobile betting industry, which is training on very well from the advances made last year; now for some developments from across the Atlantic. To begin with, the British Columbia Lottery Corporation has confirmed that it is seeking to offer a platform to allow casino and lottery gaming via smartphones and tablets: the corporation said that, given that around 3,000 users were already using its site via iPads, it was attempting to optimise the experience by launching a dedicated app from Q2 2012. Secondly, the US mobile gaming sector– which, due to various pieces of restrictive federal and state legislation, has seen little activity in recent years – has gained a minor boost in the shape of an amendment to the regulations of the Nevada Gaming Commission. This amendment now permits guests at Las Vegas resorts to gamble on mobile devices within their hotel rooms, provided that licensees can persuade the Commission that they have the ability to monitor play. It is a small step, true, and the legislative wheels turn but slowly. Still, from little acorns and all that…