William Hill wins Nevada licence

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William Hill, the UK's biggest bookie, has made its first foray into the US by winning a licence to operate in the state of Nevada, home of the Las Vegas casino industry.

After being awarded the gambling licence, Hill will go ahead with the $55m (£35m) acquisitions of three sports books businesses: American Wagering, Brandywine Bookmaking and Cal Neva, which it announced some time ago.

This will see William Hill running roughly two-thirds of the 180 bookies within Las Vegas casinos. They will be rebranded William Hill over time and the group has also applied for an online gambling licence.

Ralph Topping, chief executive, said: "We are delighted to have been awarded our licence to operate in Nevada. This now enables us to establish William Hill's first-ever US operation."

He added Hill had been given the highest level of licence by Nevada, to be the toughest state in the US in terms of gambling regulation.

He said: "Most people say it's the platinum process you have to go through. You're ready for anything that happens elsewhere in the US."