British bookmaker William Hill has become the first gaming operator in Nevada to be given approval to offer eSports betting in the state after Gaming Policy Committee approved the William Hill – Downtown Grand Las Vegas partnership.
Downtown Grand opened out an exclusive eSports room earlier this year and commenced holding competitions every week for Madden, Mortal Combat and Street Fighter gamers. William Hill started its eSports wagering over the weekend offering wagers on IEM Oakland eSports event which featured the popular League of Legends video game.
The eSports industry continues to grow at a rapid pace all over the world and has a fast growing market in the United States. eSports games like Hearthstone have also been a big hit with online poker players including top poker pros Daniel Negreanu and Bert Grospellier. Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval was happy to see William Hill and Downtown Grand offer eSports betting which is in line with his vision to turn Nevada in to the most popular eSports destination in the world.
Seth Schorr, the chairman of the Downtown Grand Casino and chief executive officer of Fifth Street Gaming stated that William Hill and Downtown Grand were happy that the Gaming Commission supported their initiative to bring a new gaming revenue stream to Nevada. Schorr stated that Downtown Grand had worked hard this past year to turn its venue into a premier eSports destination and this partnership with William Hill with further enable it to establish its reputation in the eSports market.
In a statement, Joe Asher, William Hill U.S. Chief Executive Officer said “We are excited to partner with Seth Schorr and the Downtown Grand to become the first sports book in America to offer legal wagering on eSports. A lot of work has gone into bringing eSports to the Nevada betting market and we thank the Governor and his Gaming Policy Committee, the Gaming Control Board and Seth for all of their efforts to keep Nevada at the forefront of the gaming industry. William Hill always tries to offer the most innovative and largest wagering menu and this reflects our commitment to innovation.”
William Hill had pursued a possible merger with Amaya Inc, the parent company of PokerStars earlier this year as the UK bookmaker wanted to expand its online offering. Those plans were shelved after a major William Hill shareholder objected to the merger.