British Invasion – Round Two

Almost fifty years ago, a multitude of bands from the UK became popular in the US.  This phenomenon in the early and mid 1960s was referred to as the “British Invasion”, and included such acts as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and The Kinks.
All signs point to an imminent “second wave” of Brits invading and controlling a ubiquitous segment of our popular culture.   This time it’s not music – it’s gambling.
Two recent examples illustrate my point.  First, according to the Public Gaming Research Institute, Ladbrokes, the UK-based online sportsbook and casino giant, recently paid $3 million to acquire a majority stake in Stadium Technology Group, a Las Vegas-based supplier of software and betting applications to bookmakers.  This makes Ladbrokes the latest offshore gambling operator to cement a position for itself in the event sports betting is eventually legalized more broadly in the United States.

Second, William Hill, the main British rival to Ladbrokes, last year spent well in excess of $50 million on purchases of various Las Vegas sports betting outfits, including American Wagering. The acquisitions are known to be part of a plan to cement a foothold in the US before legalization and the consequent growth in the market.
As most people who follow the gambling industry know, it is the opinion of the current US Justice Department that while cross-state betting on sporting contests is illegal under the Wire Act, other forms of internet gambling such as poker and casino games are not.  What some of you may not have seen or heard shortly thereafter was Paul Revere riding through the streets of Las Vegas proclaiming once again, well, you know.

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