William Hill US Asks Affiliates to Avoid Promoting Black Market Operators

In the gambling industry, affiliates come in handy as a way for gaming operators to showcase their wares. Affiliates get a cut of the action and work hard to promote a particular operator’s online and retail based gaming options. With the right promotion in place, an operator can continue to see regular traffic streams which means more business on a regular basis. However, marketing for illegal operators via affiliates can cause harm. William Hill US is one such operator asking affiliates to avoid promoting black market sites.

Please Stop

The British bookmaker has seen great success over the years in the international market, particularly within the UK. They have moved into the US, having offered services in Nevada for some time and expanded into other states as sports betting became an option in the nation last year.

Just a few days ago, William Hill US decided to ask their United States-facing affiliates to stop promoting the black market sites. Emails were sent to marketing partners, requesting that they do not promote their brand alongside unlicensed US operators. If an affiliate wants to continue to promote an unauthorized site, William Hill asks that they remove all of their branded promotions from their site immediately.

William Hill then stated that any affiliate the refers US traffic continues to promote both William Hill and unauthorized sites, then their accounts will be closed based on terms and conditions of the brand.

Why Push Affiliates to Stop Such Advertising?

It seems the push to stop unlicensed operator advertising via affiliates stems from an advisory bulletin sent out in New Jersey. David Rebuck, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement Director, sent out a bulletin a short time ago referencing unauthorized sports betting sites.

The advise from the DGE was to inform media and news outlets and other groups of advertising in the state regarding sports betting. The memo pointed out that online sports betting operators that do not have licensing in the state should not be endorsed or referenced.

For the media, the DGE urges that information should only be sourced from websites that have licensing in the state or from another jurisdiction. They should limit any discussion on wagering odds for an event when there is no source authorized to provide such information.

If an unauthorized site is used for reference, the media outlet must include a statement that the site is not licensed in the state. They must also direct readers to the Division of Gaming Enforcement website where a list of licensed operators can be found.

With the recent request of William Hill US, it seems the operator is trying to do everything they can to stay on the up and up in the states in which they operate. This is a smart move. Years ago, several operators were ousted from the US, PokerStars, Full Tilt and Absolute Poker, for operating in the US when they were not legally allowed to.

This of course caused huge problems for the operators and led to major issues over the years. PokerStars has been able to bounce back, but it has not been easy. For William Hill, the company has a good reputation and they do not want to risk any issues involving their operations in the US. This is particularly important due to the fact that sports betting continues to grow in the US at a rapid rate, which would give William Hill more opportunity to expand, as long as they continue to be a top operator.

It will be interesting to see if the brand ends up cutting any affiliates off due to their continual promotion of unauthorized sites.


Logan is based in Los Angeles and is an avid poker player having played in tournaments across the globe. He covers both poker & regulatory affairs.