Posted on: May 17, 2022, 09:42h.
Last updated on: May 17, 2022, 10:07h.
William Hill is reinvigorating its sports betting operations in Latvia. Although it has maintained a presence in the European country for a decade, a new name will shake up the market.
Since 2012, 11.lv has been operating under a local license in Latvia. Its customers have access to both online sports betting and casino options. William Hill purchased the company in 2019, keeping the name intact. That’s now going to change.
William Hill announced today that it will rebrand 11.lv to William Hill. It will use existing media partnerships to promote its new brand and increase awareness of the company’s name among gamblers and bettors in the country.
William Hill Strengthens Europe Position
The transition follows on the heels of a shift in the company’s operations. 888 Holdings is close to completing its acquisition of the company in Europe after its shareholders approved the buyout this week.
The rebrand also coincides well with major sporting events in Latvia. William Hill is a financial supporter of the Responsible Gaming Latvian Cup, a national soccer competition. It and the 2022 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship both took place in April.
This puts us in a strong position to make this strategic move. We look forward to introducing William Hill to the market and showing our Latvian customers why William Hill is the best brand in the business,” stated William Hill International managing director Nir Hakarmeli.
In addition to continuing to operate the 11.lv brand, reportedly the second-largest operator in the market, William Hill also operates its Mr Green online casino brand in the country. That comes via a separate license from the Lotteries and Gambling Supervisory Inspection.
Mr Green arrived in the Latvian market in December 2020. With this, the group further leverages, among other things, compliance and operational expertise acquired via 11.lv.
Things haven’t always gone well for Mr Green across Europe. It paid $3.84 million to settle a complaint with the UK Gambling Commission in 2020. In the Netherlands, it just lost its appeal of a fine worth $325,375. The operator had allowed Dutch citizens to place bets, despite not having authorization in the country.
Latvia’s Strong Gambling Market
The revenue from gambling in Latvia reached €128 million (US$135.02 million) last year. Online gambling accounted for €109 million ($115 million), or 91.8% of the total revenue. Currently, there are 13 licensed operators that offer iGaming services in the country.
Online casino games accounted for €87.8 million (US$92.61 million). This was more than double its total revenue in 2020.
Totalizers, bets that are added up in an pari-mutuel betting system to make a total, represented €19.4 million (US$20.46 million). This is a 47.7% year-over-year increase. Online card games generated €1.7 million (US$1.79 million), an increase of 98.0%.
888 Ready to Close Acquisition
888 wants to take control of William Hill’s assets as soon as possible. Doing so will help it begin to find solid ground for its financial stability. The company recently sold its bingo operation to Broadway Gaming Ltd, which will also help.
The British gambling operator can now focus its efforts on growth in other verticals, including sports betting and iGaming. It will also be able to concentrate on expansion into core and growth markets.
Furthermore, the acquisition of William Hill will bring important scale advantages and build leading positions in certain high-priority markets. William Hill will be joined by Mr Green, and the proposed deal will double the business’s size and offer huge amounts of casino games.
The company also continues to invest in its flagship 888casino product. There were over 870 new games launched last year, many of which featured new slots themes.
In addition to these, customers now have access to more than 160 exclusive games that Section8, 888’s games studio, has created. The studio launched 17 brand new games in the past year, including hits like Millionaire Genie Megaways and Mad Max Fury Road.