April 03, 2008

William Hill optimistic about Spain

William Hill yesterday announced that the Madrid Autonomous Region had awarded the company a sports betting licence to Victoria Apuestas, the joint venture it has set up in Spain with Codere.

The first Victoria betting outlet will open in the Canoe, the largest bingo hall in Madrid, in the next few days and the group hopes to open close to 70 points of sale by the end of 20008.

Ian Spearing, group director for corporate strategy and business development at William Hill, told eGaming Review that the company was “cautiously optimistic” about developing market share in Spain in the coming months.

Spearing said: “We have been waiting in the starting blocks for some time and have around 25 stand-alone locations ready to be fitted out and another 30 third party-licensed outlets also ready.

Spearing added that William Hill had also obtained one of three gambling licences issued for the Basque Region through its Victoria Garaipen Apustas subsidiary and had between 50 and 60 locations earmarked for development.

“We feel confident that we will be able to open up to 70 outlets by the end of 2008.”

With many betting shops being presented as meeting and social points in the form of cafés and bars in Spain, the atmosphere and environment for betting is very different to that of the UK, Spearing said.