William Hill buys US bookmakers

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The Independent Online

Britain's biggest bookmaker William Hill yesterday announced another acquisition as part of its drive to become a key player in the US betting market.

It has paid $14.25m (£8.5m) for Brandywine Bookmaking, which operates 16 sportsbooks in the state of Nevada under the Lucky's brand and one in St Kitts in the Caribbean. Brandywine is also involved in a partnership which runs the Delaware State Sports Lottery and operates in three casinos in the state.

The acquisition comes a month after William Hill made its first move into the US by snapping up American Wagering Inc (AWI) and Club Cal Nevi businesses, which also operate in Nevada and Delaware, for $39m.

The deals give William Hill a major presence in the US, which currently only allows gambling in four states. Nevada is the largest of the markets, with an estimated gambling turnover of $2.7bn.

Ralph Topping, the chief executive of William Hill, said: "Brandywine will give William Hill a leading position in the US land-based sports betting market."

He added that Brandywine's relationship with Delaware could be emulated by other states.

The acquisitions will not complete until William Hill is granted a licence from the Nevada Gaming Commission, which it hopes to obtain next year.