On July 25, William Hill US officially launched its very first sportsbook in the state of New Mexico, located at the Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort & Casino in Mescalero, New Mexico.
Some big names were there to place the opening bets including UFC fighter Holly Holm, Mescalero Apache Tribe President Arthur “Butch” Blazer and Mescalero Apache Tribe Vice President Gabe Aguilar, according to nativebusinessmag.com.
The bets placed were made public as both Blazer and Aguilar made $100 wagers on the Dallas Cowboys to win the Super Bowl. Holm bet on UFC 240 (Women's Featherweight Championship) for $100, picking Cris Cyborg over Felicia Spencer.
The casino is about three hours away from the largest city in New Mexico, Albuquerque, and about two hours from El Paso, Texas.
The announcement of the sportsbook's opening came back on June 24 and it's the very first tribal agreement for William Hill US. This also marks the fourth sportsbook in New Mexico to reside at a tribal casino.
Santa Ana Star was the first to launch in October, Pueblo of Pojoaque’s Buffalo Thunder followed in March and The Isleta is set to open on Aug. 12.
This is a major move for New Mexico, as William Hill is one of the world’s leading betting and gaming companies and one of the most enduring brands in the entire industry.
“Working with the Mescalero Apache Tribe and the National Indian Gaming Commission on this partnership agreement was important to us," President of Retail for William Hill US David Grolman said in a June 24 press release.
“Inn of the Mountain Gods is one of the premier resorts and casinos in the Southwest and together we plan to bring a first-class experience to sports fans in the region.”
The William Hill sportsbook is set up inside the Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort & Casino alongside the Big Game Sports Bar and the Apache Spirit Club. The facility will have 12 43-inch TVs and various high-top seating available for customers.
“Over the years, our customers have come to expect a high level of service and the best casino offerings possible,” Frizzell Frizzell Jr., the Chief Operating Officer at Inn of the Mountain Gods, said in the William Hill press release.
“Our sports book will be no exception. Together with William Hill, we will offer state-of-the-art betting technology, and innovative wagering opportunities including in-play options. We know this is something our customers have been looking forward to, and we’re thrilled to be able to partner with the best in the business to bring it to them.”
One drawback: Casino officials announced that betting on in-state college programs will not be allowed, similar to the situation at other tribal casinos in the state. That means Division I schools like New Mexico and New Mexico State will not be available for wagering.
William Hill is expanding and is set to launch two sportsbooks in Iowa shortly. Iowa’s state gaming officials passed the final legislation to push through with legalized sports gambling which would allow bets before the NFL season starts.