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US sports betting legalisation has been a ‘slow roll’, says William Hill US executive

The roll-out of legislation legalizing sports betting in the US has been slower than expected but the momentum is building, according to William Hill US digital president Ken Fuchs.

Last week Montana became the first US state to legalize sports betting in 2019 and the ninth overall, following Nevada, New Jersey, Rhode Island, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Mississippi and New Mexico. Tennessee, Iowa and Indiana are expected to be the next states to authorize sports betting.

“It has been a slow roll,” Fuchs said at the Sports Decision Makers Summit in Miami.

With each state offering different sports betting legislations, the key for gambling operators in the US is to provide digital tools that provide “speed and flexibility” to work across the country, Fuchs added.

Last year William Hill US partnered with the NHL New Jersey Devils to open a sports betting lounge in the Prudential Center. At the time William Hill’s fan recognition was just one per cent in the state of New Jersey, according to Adam Davis, the CRO of Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, the owner of the Devils.

To help drive potential gamblers to the William Hill platform, the Devils post questions such as ‘who will be the first goalscorer?’ before games on its social media channels. “It is a mutually beneficial partnership – we grow together,” Fuchs said.

Fuchs said one of next major developments in this sphere will be the creation of apps that are more user-friendly and creative and less transactional than the current generation.