- William Hill will operate the sportsbook at Las Vegas’ Palms Casino Resort.
- The company was recommended for approval of the necessary licensure to operate the Palms sportsbook by the Nevada Gaming Control Board late last week.
- The Palms will reopen on April 27, now under the ownership of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians and the San Manuel Gaming and Hospitality Authority.
One salient question about the gaming mix at the soon-to-reopen Palms Resort Casino in Las Vegas has been answered–William Hill will operate the sportsbook. When the Palms announced plans for an April 27 re-opening date, information about a sports betting operation at the property was absent in both the press release and on their website. Since the property had been sold by former owners Red Rock Resorts to the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians and the San Manuel Gaming and Hospitality Authority in May 2021 it was initially unclear what they would be doing relative to sports betting.
The good news is that the Palms will have a sportsbook. The less good news is that it’ll be a William Hill operated location. Nothing against William Hill, but since they operate at 124 locations across the Silver State they’re not exactly a rare commodity. In a Nevada sports betting ecosystem already sorely lacking in variety there was some hope that the San Manuel tribe would at least offer a new ‘out’.
That’s not going to happen but at least the Palms will have a professionally run, state of the art sportsbook. Sports betting has always been a focal point at the Palms. Prior to their closure with the rest of Nevada’s gaming industry at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Palms sportsbook was operated by Cantor Gaming/CG Technologies. William Hill purchased the assets of CG Technologies and took over operation of five of their sportsbooks in August 2020. The company took over operations at The Cosmopolitan, the Venetian and the Silverton immediately. Two properties that were part of the deal remained closed at the time–The Palms and Tropicana. The Tropicana reopened in mid-September 2020 but the Palms never reopened up to the time it was sold by Red Rock Resorts.
This item was on the agenda of the Nevada Gaming Control Board meeting on April 6, 2022:
Given the fact that William Hill already operates at 100+ locations throughout Nevada there was no reason to think that they wouldn’t get the recommendation for approval by the GBC. Here’s what the actual disposition looks like:
The ‘conditions’ are essentially ‘boilerplate’ and attached by regulators to any application of this type. What happens now in Nevada’s bifurcated system of gaming regulation is that it’ll be on the agenda of the Nevada Gaming Commission’s April meeting on April 21, 2022. The NGC usually follows the recommendation of the GCB and in this case there’s virtually no chance that William Hill’s application to run the Palms sportsbook won’t be approved. As Richard Velotta reported in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the Gaming Control Board unanimously recommended approval and had few questions for Caesars executives.
The sportsbook is now expected to open with the rest of the property on April 27. The article noted that William Hill plans to modernize the sportsbook:
Jeffrey Hendricks, senior vice president and assistant general counsel of regulatory and compliance for Caesars, and David Grolman, senior vice president of retail operations, told board members the revamped Palms book will have five betting stations and six kiosks when it reopens April 27.
I did some digging around on the Palms website tonight and found a page for the sportsbook that wasn’t linked with the rest of the gaming amenities. The page is devoid of detail though it still has an icon for ‘myBoardingPass (aka the loyalty program of Station Casinos):
There is no mention whatsoever of the previous operators but if you click on the ‘download now’ icon for the sports betting app you’re taken to this page at cgsportsbook.com. It looks like someone’s kid designed it:
If you go to the Internet Archive you can go back to the earliest capture they have for CG Sportsbooks and find bits and pieces of a once thriving business. It gave me a vibe like looking at abandoned gas stations along Route 66:
You can, however, go even deeper into the ‘paleolithic era’ by searching for ‘cantorgaming.com’. Earlier iterations of the Cantor Gaming website were–like many other sites ‘back in the day’ heavily Flash based and don’t render properly. This capture is from December 2006:
This capture from December 2009 is the earliest iteration of the Cantor Gaming website that looks like anything:
The hastily designed page that now refers visitors to William Hill is a sad though appropriate postscript to the rise and fall of Cantor Gaming/CG Technologies. The sobering reality, however, is that nearly two decades from the launch of Cantor Gaming the ‘powers that be’ in Nevada are just as hostile to innovation in sports betting now as they were then.