William Hill's new casino is an outsourced joke

thelawnet

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William Hill have set up a new Playtech casino
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, having bought Cpays from Playtech. Unfortunately their 'new' casino appears to have been produced on the Cpays 'create a casino' production line. So when you leave the site, you have to click Ok or Cancel on a Prestige Casino popup; and on the Hill site there are 'Download now' popups everywhere. The link at the bottom of the William Hill casino site goes to the Cpays network, but they're not listed there as a client:
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In classic Playtech form the links on the left, labelled 'About William Hill', 'Promotions', etc., just launch the casino installer. Oops.

And though William Hill is a household name in the UK, with over a thousand betting shops, the number 1 in the UK, for some reason they've felt fit to launch a casino that strongly discriminates against British players.

"In the interest of fair gaming, you must wager at least 12 times your bonus and Deposit before making any cash outs for $, C$ and . In the interest of fair gaming you must wager at least 25 times your bonus and deposit before making any cash outs for ."

Um, say what? British players, the key constituency for William Hill, have over double the wagering requirement of everybody else.

And don't think, what with the pound falling to 25-year lows, that you could perhaps play in Euros or Dollars. Nope:

"Please note that regardless of the wagering requirements mentioned above, the following players (defined as: exceptional groups) have to fulfill the following wagering requirements:

players depositing with and are not from the United Kingdom, must wager at least 50 times their deposit and bonus amount before making any cash out.
players depositing with $//C$ and are from the United Kingdom, must wager at least 25 times their deposit and bonus amount before making any cash out."

And that's not all, if you are British and play in $, you need to be a fully qualified rules lawyer, because further down it says:

"Please note that only bets placed on all sorts of Slots games do fulfill the player's obligations with regard to the minimum wagering requirements for players which defined as exceptional groups.

Please note that for players which defined as exceptional groups, all the bonuses issued only for wagering purposes. Bonuses will be automatically removed from players' accounts after a withdrawal request."

They also have a 'we can steal your winnings for any reason we like clause'.

"The casino reserves the right to review transaction records and logs from time to time, for any reason whatsoever. If, upon such a review, it appears that player is participating in strategies that the casino in its sole discretion deems to be abusive, the casino reserves the right to revoke the entitlement of such a player to the promotion.

Furthermore, if upon such review, the players' practices have been deemed to be "Promotion Abuse", William Hill Casino Management has the right to take the following actions, at its sole discretion, against such abusers:

All winnings on any account/s opened will be null and void and all cash-ins will be cancelled where play has been deemed abusive.
Abusing Player accounts may be terminated immediately.
Players found to be abusing promotions may be barred from receiving further promotional offers at the Casino. "

They also have a 10 free bonus with silly terms:

'1. The free Sign Up Bonus will be issued to players instantly from the time of signing up.
2. Please note: Players must register payment details (e.g. credit card or alternative payment method) BEFORE playing with a free sign-up bonus. Any player who does not do so will not be eligible to claim the winnings permitted to be withdrawn in accordance with clause 7 below (i.e. a maximum of $///CAD 200).
4. Subject to clause 5 below, the minimum wagering requirements for a sign-up bonus are 99 times the bonus amount, i.e. 10 x99 = 990. This means that you will have to wager at least this amount in order to be eligible to withdraw any of your winnings (subject at all times to the maximum amount permitted to be withdrawn in accordance with clause 7 below).
5. Please note: Only bets placed on all sorts of Slots games fulfill the player's obligations with regard to the minimum wagering requirements set forth in clause 4 above.
6. For age verification purposes, a first approved deposit of at least $///CAD 20 must be made, in order to be able to withdraw your winnings (subject at all times to the maximum amount permitted to be withdrawn in accordance with clause 7 below).'

And withdrawing your money? Limited, William Hill might have a billion pounds in annual revenue, but they won't give you more than a few thousand:

'Cashing out policy

While there is NO LIMIT to the amount a Player can cash out in the casino, there is a maximum amount that can be withdrawn in one time. For receiving any Withdrawal which is higher than $9,000, an amount of $9,000 (or the corresponding amount in the currency of payment) will be paid to you once a month, upon your Withdrawal request, until the full amount of your Withdrawal request is paid. The foregoing applies also to Withdrawals of progressive jackpots. Withdrawals depend on all conditions specified above and the verification of all required documents as set forth in "Terms & Conditions" Section, clause 9.4.'

$9,000 a MONTH????

WTF?

William Hill must have some monster high rollers. Are they serious?

They can't spell either:


'You do not have to withdraw you winnings at the end of each session. The secure server of our casino saves your account balance each time you log off the casino; the moment you log on again, you're account balance will be immediately available. '


And cashing out to credit card? Sorry, no go:

'Due to Credit Card's regulations we are not permitted to return funds to your Credit Card account. Cash Outs will be returned via one of our other payment methods which support withdrawals.'


What a joke. All of this stuff is pretty much par for the course from your run of the mill Playtech, but not what you'd expect from William Hill. You'd think before launching a casino they'd do a bit more than find and replace.
 

Simmo!

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All goes to back up the theory that William Hill see casino as a secondary side-product that they "should be seen to have". It's pretty apparent to a lot of people here they have never had much of a budget for it and see sports as their core business - something they do very well as it happens. And their reputation for poor support on the casino side has followed them around for years.

I'm surprised though. They have a reputation to protect and they way they have handled the casino side has IMO done more harm than good. All the other bookmakers have done casino pretty professionally, but Hills seem not to be bothered about it and I find that strange. But maybe core business is what it's all about. Still, teaming up with CPays raised a lot of eyebrows and you have to question whether they did any due diligence on this. To be honest, I think that they should just ditch the casino operation before it does them any more damage.
 

thelawnet

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All goes to back up the theory that William Hill see casino as a secondary side-product that they "should be seen to have". It's pretty apparent to a lot of people here they have never had much of a budget for it and see sports as their core business - something they do very well as it happens. And their reputation for poor support on the casino side has followed them around for years.

I'm surprised though. They have a reputation to protect and they way they have handled the casino side has IMO done more harm than good. All the other bookmakers have done casino pretty professionally, but Hills seem not to be bothered about it and I find that strange. But maybe core business is what it's all about. Still, teaming up with CPays raised a lot of eyebrows and you have to question whether they did any due diligence on this.

Actually they BOUGHT CPays.

They've set up WHG (International) Limited and WHG Trading Limited (license number 041)

Deliberately abbreviated so that when you go to something like 'http://www.blackpoolclub.co.uk/', which is third-rate no-name casino, the words 'William Hill' don't appear anywhere.

A number of the sites they've bought have reputations that are far from stellar. Here's a (partial?) list:

Amber Coast Casino Dubious: https://www.casinomeister.com/forums/threads/amber-coast-casino-fraud-long.13778/
BetMost Poker
Blackpool Club Casino/Bingo
BetGate Casino Link Removed ( Old/Invalid)
Cote D'Azur Palace Link Removed ( Old/Invalid)
Diamond Club Casino
Sky Kings Casino
32 VEGAS Casino Rogue: https://www.casinomeister.com/rogue-casinos/
Eurogrand Casino (lots of complaints)
Joyland Casino Rogue: https://www.casinomeister.com/forums/threads/joyland-casino-problem-withdrawal-request.9195/
Kiwi Casino, Poker, Bingo (Rogue) https://www.casinomeister.com/rogue-casinos/
Playgate Casino
Prestige Casino
SkyKings Casino

CDPoker Poker

Ruby Bingo


Due diligence was clearly not done.

To be honest, I think that they should just ditch the casino operation before it does them any more damage.

I think they're a bit heavily invested in it for that.

Seems like they just forked out the millions but didn't expect to have to do any work to make the brands reputable. I guess they just see it as a cash cow, no work required.
 

lots0

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As I see it, the problem is WH management is listening to the old (Ethically Challenged) management team from CPAYS...

Bad mistake for WH, imo.
 

wangpoker

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I wan to know what relationship between CPays and Playtech.
I heard CPays = Playtech. Could someone confirm this?
 

thelawnet

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I wan to know what relationship between CPays and Playtech.
I heard CPays = Playtech. Could someone confirm this?

It's all a bit confusing.

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It says 'Playtech is acquiring various online gaming businesses, marketing assets and contracts for $250m cash, the majority of which will be combined with William Hill Interactive'.

It also says there are 110 staff in Bulgaria on support, and 160 in Israel on marketing. But the 110 is to increase as WH's current outsourced staff get dumped so they can expand the Playtech staff operation.

William Hill's online operations, inclusive of sports made 68m in H1 2008, the purchases made 26m. Hills are 90% British customers, the purchases 90% non-British. The purchased Playtech margins are 31%, and are 83% casino, 17% poker, <1% bingo. But that might not be representative of the wider Playtech portfolio.

There were a number of companies under the Cpays banner before. Quite who those companies were setup by I'm not sure. But from the fairly simple 'we are buying a Bulgarian support desk' statement, my guess is that Playtech ran the Cpays network and is responsible for the CS, and then there were owners, who owned one or more casinos which were run by Playtech for them, which Playtech have now bought out and are now owned (but not run by) William Hill. Nothing has changed with the support operations of these casinos.
 

vinylweatherman

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Perhaps this explains why William Hill casino have joined the ranks of the prolific spammers.

This is what might bite them in the a$$ though. They are a British brand, and when UK citizens start seeing the Will Hill spam, they will be somewhat shocked that William Hill has become involved in what they, as non players, have perhaps viewed as a somewhat seedy business.

No doubt, government officials will receive some of the spam, and if any gets through, I am sure they will wonder why they are suddenly seeing a UK company get involved.

They would most certainly have been better off getting rid of the casino altogether, but it seems they want to get into this business, and know that while UK citizens might be taken aback, the rest of the world would probably know Will Hill, if at all, from their online offerings, not their high street betting shops.
 

spearmaster

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But from the fairly simple 'we are buying a Bulgarian support desk' statement, my guess is that Playtech ran the Cpays network and is responsible for the CS, and then there were owners, who owned one or more casinos which were run by Playtech for them, which Playtech have now bought out and are now owned (but not run by) William Hill. Nothing has changed with the support operations of these casinos.

Not correct. Playtech is a software provider/developer and does not operate casinos. You may establish this fact quite easily as Playtech is publicly-listed.
 

lots0

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Not correct. Playtech is a software provider/developer and does not operate casinos. You may establish this fact quite easily as Playtech is publicly-listed.


I maybe wrong about this, but I do believe that spearmaster is somewhat of an expert in this area and I expect that you can take what he says to the Bank.
 

thelawnet

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Not correct. Playtech is a software provider/developer and does not operate casinos. You may establish this fact quite easily as Playtech is publicly-listed.

I'm not sure, didn't they buy some casinos from Tribeca?

Regarding the present deal, they bought casinos that were owned by the 40%owner of Playtech Teddy Sagi, namely Uniplay International Limited and Six Digits Trading Limited. So they do definitely now operate these casinos, and previously were very closely connected to them given that the owner and founder of Playtech owned the casinos.
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So it seems to me that the less than stellar reputation of these casinos reflects on Playtech directly, given the relationship between them.
 

thelawnet

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I'm not sure, didn't they buy some casinos from Tribeca?

Regarding the present deal, they bought casinos that were owned by the 40%owner of Playtech Teddy Sagi, namely Uniplay International Limited and Six Digits Trading Limited. So they do definitely now operate these casinos, and previously were very closely connected to them given that the owner and founder of Playtech owned the casinos.
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So it seems to me that the less than stellar reputation of these casinos reflects on Playtech directly, given the relationship between them.

And just to clarify this, given that Playtech were originally a private company, and given that

(a) Teddy Sagi owned Playtech
(b) Teddy Sagi owned the major Playtech casinos

then the link is rather obvious.

And it's not just these casinos linked to Uniplay, but also Club Dice Casino, Monaco Gold Casino and Carnival Casino, see
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(re the sale of the above casinos to Party Gaming).

"The majority of the $250m being paid by Playtech for the affiliates is accounted for by Uniplay, a business controlled by Playtech's founder and main shareholder, 36-year-old Israeli billionaire Teddy Sagi. "

"Playtech still has an option to buy another five affiliates controlled by Sagi,"

Extremely incestuous.
 

spearmaster

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I did say Playtech does not operate casinos, it is a software provider. And as I said, they are publicly-listed so you can find out plenty of information about them.

Tribeca, the company and network, was bought by Playtech. Playtech did not acquire any casinos, however it did acquire the rights to provide software to Tribeca's existing licensees.

I trust this is clear now?
 

slotplayer

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I was sent an email to promote them on my site yesterday but accidently deleted it before I could fully read it.
 

thelawnet

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I did say Playtech does not operate casinos, it is a software provider. And as I said, they are publicly-listed so you can find out plenty of information about them.

Tribeca, the company and network, was bought by Playtech. Playtech did not acquire any casinos, however it did acquire the rights to provide software to Tribeca's existing licensees.

I trust this is clear now?

Clearer.

1. Playtech's 40% owner and founder owns a number of Playtech casinos
2. Playtech bought some Playtech casinos from Playtech's owner, and then sold them immediately on to William Hill Online, a new division of William Hill.
3. Playtech has a 29-32% share in William Hill Online, which means that Playtech is indirectly a casino operator, and its interests are the same as its operator.
4. William Hill Online, despite the name, has had little or no William Hill changes, it's just a new name for the same casinos.
 

vinylweatherman

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Clearer.

1. Playtech's 40% owner and founder owns a number of Playtech casinos
2. Playtech bought some Playtech casinos from Playtech's owner, and then sold them immediately on to William Hill Online, a new division of William Hill.
3. Playtech has a 29-32% share in William Hill Online, which means that Playtech is indirectly a casino operator, and its interests are the same as its operator.
4. William Hill Online, despite the name, has had little or no William Hill changes, it's just a new name for the same casinos.

This is something else that can deliver the unexpected nip in the buttocks. These complex structures are common in "the city". Often, they are deliberately made this way, usually so that the operation as a whole is tax efficient - the complex tax laws leading to similarly complex company structures.

To the ordinary person in the street (or the cyber highway), these company structures make no sense, and can look as though there is mischief afoot.
If a company does not carry out an activity, but owns part of another company that does, they are still involved as investors, but they can only be said to be carrying out the activity if they also have seats on the board and/or other means by which they can influence the activity.
Unless the holding is substantial, it is unlikely that the holder can have any real influence over the actions of the company they hold shares in.

Given that Playtech is a public listed company, they will have to declare all of this in their annual reports. I do not know their normal reporting cycle, but this latest set of deals should be detailed shortly, if they have not already appeared in an interim report.
There are plenty of financial journalists who have what it takes to digest the figures and statements, and render what has happened into a form ordinary people can understand.

If Playtech operate any casinos, this will appear as operating revenue in their cashflow, if they merely receive income through a subsidiary that operates casinos, this will be shown as dividend payments from that part owned subsidiary. If they have a CONTROLLING interest in the subsidiary that operates casinos, this will be shown in their statement of assets. A holding north of 50% grants an absolute controlling interest, and holdings between 30% and 50% are considered a significant influence, and something the stock market regulator takes an interest in, for example, requiring a declaration of intent whether or not they have aquired the holding with the intent to launch a takeover. Holdings below 30% are normally considered an investment, and may only be enough for a couple of seats on the board.

The 29% to 32% share Playtech has in William Hill Online is a substantial investment, but it is not enough for Playtech to call the shots without the support of other substantial shareholders. It can be said to be a "significant interest", but this is no different than the cross shareholdings between other companies.

By far the biggest danger from all of this is for investors, as these kinds of cross shareholdings are what brought down the so called "zero dividend preference shares" in a previous financial meltdown. If a subsidiary company goes bust, shareholders tend to lose everything, so, if a company holds a significant amount of this subsidiary that has gone bust, they too lose a significant amount of their net worth. Where a series of cross shareholdings is complex and "incestuous", a chain reaction can develop where the whole lot lose so much of their value they are effectively insolvent (on paper at least). This is partly due to investors panicking - magnifying the effect even further.

From a player's perspective, or indeed an affiliate, it is the fortunes of the subsidiary that needs looking at, and whether any of their major shareholders will step in with a bailout should times get tough. Players and affiliates of Will Hill online casinos are paid, and place money with, Will Hill online, and they depend on this company being run effectively, and conveying this impression to their customers. Currently, Will Hill online has not impressed me one bit. As a former customer of Will Hill's Cryptologic casino allied with a sportbook "purse", I see the move to Playtech as a significant backward step, especially so given the way they single out UK players for far worse treatment than much of the rest of the world. It is this one fact that has made me very much the detractor of anything Playtech - I strongly resent being treated as an inferior class by what I see is every Playtech casino, and Will Hill have made matters worse by being a UK household name, yet still doing this now they see "greener grass" over the channel.

This whole deal could backfire, given that this has been put together just as a full blown financial meltdown has finally hit home after the tremors of last year. If there is a contracting supply of players and funds, adding a load of new casinos to the supply means a smaller slice of action for each one. Will Hill online has absorbed a bunch of Playtech casinos with a pretty poor reputation, and they are not making it clear to the player community that there has been this change of ownership, further, the spamming for these brands has increased under Will Hill Online's stewardship, and this is sending out all the wrong signals, and is just confirming the poor reputation these brands have gained in the past.

Prestige has started inundating my inbox with spam, and I am a little taken aback to see it is now supposed to be "reputable" by virtue of having been taken over by Will Hill online. The fact that I am now getting spam directly promoting the Will Hill casino shows me that negative progress has been made, as under Cryptologic Will Hill was one of the casinos that had good control over the spammy affiliates, and Will Hill (Crypto) spam was as rare as Intercasino spam is now.
 

spearmaster

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3. Playtech has a 29-32% share in William Hill Online, which means that Playtech is indirectly a casino operator, and its interests are the same as its operator.
Hmm.

If you buy shares of MGM Mirage, does that mean that you are indirectly a casino operator, and that your interests are the same?

I don't think you can draw this conclusion. Provided that the shareholding is not a majority stake with absolute decision-making authority, I would have to call this a business investment.

The relationship is clear, no disputing that - but there's a bit of a difference between having a stake and owning something.
 

Simmo!

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I was sent an email to promote them on my site yesterday but accidently deleted it before I could fully read it.

Accidents are rarely good things, but this one may have been :D

One thing I would add is that if Will Hill perceive this to be damaging to their reputation in time to come, you can be assured they will take steps to put it right. So while the early signs aren't good, long term I think there will be a positive to be drawn, if only that we see the end of the persistant spamming and dodgy marketing tactics. Right now the whole thing looks like a big mistake to those who know this side of the industry, but maybe it might just serve to wake them up a bit.
 

jetset

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Despite its abysmal record for player support, I do not believe that Will Hill regards lightly its investment in online casino activity.

The Playtech deal is a big one for this sector, and Ralph Topping (CEO at Will Hill) has been quoted as intending to ramp up all online gambling activity at the group.

They have a long row to hoe following the awful experiences with their online sportsbook go-it-alone venture which was finally abandoned at a large cost last year when they at last outsourced the project.

BTW I think VWM and Spear's comments on the necessity and fact of complex structures in large commercial groups and their shareholders are well made.
 

thelawnet

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Hmm.

If you buy shares of MGM Mirage, does that mean that you are indirectly a casino operator, and that your interests are the same?

I don't think you can draw this conclusion. Provided that the shareholding is not a majority stake with absolute decision-making authority, I would have to call this a business investment.

The relationship is clear, no disputing that - but there's a bit of a difference between having a stake and owning something.

It's a bit more than just buying a few shares MGM Mirage. They've got an investment worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

If you have such a stake of course it affects your decisions.
 
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