William Hill Goes Virtual in Las Vegas

U.K.-based William Hill is offering virtual horse racing at the Silver Sevens and Plaza Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

William Hill is the largest race and sports book operator in Nevada, and the state’s Gaming Commission last year approved the company’s license for virtual horse racing.

William Hill is using virtual horse racing to liven things up and provide more betting opportunities, primarily during weekdays, when fewer live races are run.

Virtual races are run every five minutes, with legendary race announcer Tom Durkin calling the action. Each race contains eight to 12 virtual horses, and bettors can lay wagers to win, place or show, as well as exactas and trifectas.

William Hill conducted test runs of the virtual racing product prior to obtaining its regulatory approval last year, and says about 18 percent of its revenues from horse racing now come from virtual racing at its U.K. operations.

The company has no predictions for its Nevada operations, where interest in horse racing has declined in recent years, as well as nationally.

William Hill did not speculate on the potential popularity of virtual horse racing with millennial-generation visitors, who greatly favor immersive, interactive and technologically advanced gaming options over traditional slots-based gaming. Millennials grew up with online gaming and advanced gaming systems, and virtual horse racing might prove more popular with them than live racing or slots.