- The Nevada gaming industry remains in a state of shutdown with all casinos closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Some sportsbooks are taking bets via their mobile apps including Westgate, Circa Sports and William Hill.
- William Hill will expand their drive thru sportsbook service for Las Vegas bettors.
The Las Vegas gaming industry remains in a state of shutdown though there are some signs that it will reopen fairly soon. For the past month, the only gaming revenue coming in has been via sportsbook apps offered by Circa Sports, William Hill, MGM Resorts, Caesars Entertainment, South Point and the Westgate Superbook. The Westgate was one of the latest to reopen and they announced that only existing clients would be able to access their service. South Point and Circa Sports, meanwhile, found a clever way to service new and existing clients–by providing drive thru service in their properties’ currently unused valet parking area.
We spied a trend in the making with drive thru sportsbook service and it didn’t take long for Nevada’s biggest operator William Hill to get their own drive thru service up and running. In fact, they started servicing clients on Friday and Saturday in advance of the UFC 249 fight card. With their huge footprint they were able to leverage several locations and offered service at four Las Vegas locations–the Alamo Casino, Arizona Charlie’s Boulder Highway, Arizona Charlie’s Decatur and the Plaza downtown–along with Sierra Sid’s Casino in Sparks.
William Hill VP of Marketing Michael Grodsky now says that they’re working on adding more outlets. He declined to give any exact figures but suggested that business was ‘steady at all five locations’. My guess is that they would have done more business had they provided more lead time before opening. I pay attention to this type of thing pretty closely and they went from ‘planning’ to offer drive thru service to being open the following day. They should have done a ton of business since they had a really cool promotion–they gave a $65 rebate to anyone betting $249 or more in the William Hill mobile app to offset the cost of the UFC 249 PPV.
The drive thru opening was initally to be a one off thing for UFC 249–that’s how CEO of William Hill US Joe Asher made it sound in a press release announcing the drive thru service:
“Ahead of the largest sporting events of the month, we wanted a safe way to meet the current demand from our customers. It sure is nice to have some American sports to bet on.”
With so many of their Nevada competitors offering 7 day a week service it would be very surprising if they didn’t follow suit. With their huge roster of affiliated properties they’ll definitely be adding service in more locations in both the Las Vegas Valley and Northern Nevada.
William Hill had already been proactive in offering players a way to cash outstanding tickets and make withdrawals despite the closure of the Nevada casino industry. They offered several options including their really cool prepaid debit card called William Hill Priority Access. In addition, they offered to mail checks for withdrawals along with the ability to pick up payments in person from their Las Vegas office.
With ‘social distancing’ here for the foreseeable future the next step for William Hill and other properties is to expand their drive thru services. Right now, the Fiesta Rancho is the only casino in town set up for drive thru sportsbook wagers but look for others to set up their own drive thru wagering operations. In addition, you can expect to see kiosks outside of the casino at other locations in Nevada. This will require a change in Nevada’s gaming regulations–they were prohibited several years ago (reportedly at the behest of Stations Casinos) after William Hill installed them at PTs Pub locations all over Southern Nevada. They’ve proven to be popular in gaming properties and until the COVID-19 pandemic is put to rest with a vaccine sportsbooks will want to make it easy as possible for customers to place bets.