July 14, 2011

William Hill takes a second bite at Italy

UK bookmaker William Hill has confirmed plans to enter the Italian online gaming market, as the company looks to benefit from the introduction of online casino games in Italy which is expected to take place later this month.

Following licence approval from Italian gaming authorities AAMS, William Hill said that its new WilliamHill.it site will be launched later this month. The company has spent over a year developing its Italian site, with the aim of competing with rivals such as Lottomatica, Microgame and bwin/Gioco Digitale.

With AAMS set to introduce online casino games to the Italian market possible as soon as July 18th, William Hill said that its new site will initially offer online casino games to its players, followed closely by bingo, sports betting and poker products.

“We are really excited about our Italian venture,” said Henry Birch, CEO of William Hill. “The combination of a high passion for sports and gaming makes Italy one of the most important markets in our international expansion plans.

“We’ve spent a lot of time developing the site and ensuring it conforms to the AAMS regulatory requirements. We’re delighted with the outcome of the site and we believe it will be a big hit with Italian players.”

William Hill added that its Italian launch will be supported by a marketing campaign, developed to maximise awareness of its brand in Italy.

The company withdrew from the Italian sports betting market in 2008, following the sale of its joint venture with Codere for a total consideration of €5.5m to Intralot Italia.

William Hill said at the time that despite holding 57 Italian retail betting licences which the joint venture was awarded in a 2006 tender process, 'the number was insufficient in scale to provide an attractive long term return'.

The €5.5 million sale also included the online betting licence awarded to William Hill Codere Italia following the 2006 tender.

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