William Hill is entering a partnership with the Mescalero Apache Tribe to launch a sportsbook later this summer at the Inn of the Mountain Gods in New Mexico.
The move marks the first time William Hill has entered into a tribal agreement outside Nevada, where William Hill U.S. is headquartered, as well as the first launch of a William Hill sportsbook operation in New Mexico.
According to the company’s news release, bettors will have access to William Hill’s wagering technology, kiosks and in-play wagering menus when the sportsbook begins its operations, assumedly in time for the start of the 2019 football season.
“Working with the Mescalero Apache Tribe and the National Indian Gaming Commission on this partnership agreement was important to us,” said David Grolman, President of Retail for William Hill US, in the 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.”
That the Mescalero Apache Tribe would choose William Hill as its partner for launching a sportsbook shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. While this is William Hill’s first New Mexico venture, the company has a long history of success in nearby Nevada.
The company currently enjoys an existing partnership with the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe at the William Hill Race and Sportsbook at Avi in Laughlin to go along with more than 100 other William Hill betting locations the company operates within state borders, as well a one of the state’s most-played online apps.
William Hill was founded in London in 1934. In 2012, the company established William Hill U.S. to focus on sports betting operations in the Nevada area, which at the time was the only jurisdiction to take legal sports bets. Since the federal ban was repealed in May 2018, the company has expanded its footprint to other states with legal wagering including New Jersey, Mississippi, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.
New Mexico lawmakers have not technically passed a legalizations measure in the wake of the federal ban’s repeal, but that hasn’t slowed down the state’s sports betting expansion efforts. Tribal representatives from the Pueblo of Santa Ana argued an earlier gaming compact with the state government allowed it to take bets on sporting events even without state-sponsored legislation once the federal ban was removed.
The Santa Ana Star Casino Hotel was the first to test the waters when it launched the first tribal sportsbook in New Mexico in October 2018. Since then, the New Mexico government hasn’t made any effort to stop sports betting on federally recognized tribal lands, paving the way for others to follow suit.
The Pueblo of Pojoaque launched a sportsbook in April at their Hilton Buffalo Thunder Resort & Casino in Santa Fe to become the second tribal community in New Mexico to do the same.
Now, the Mescalero Apache Tribe is ready to dive head first into the potential $150 billion world of sports betting, and it probably won’t be long until additional casinos follow suit. Their sportsbook is the fourth publicly announced in the Land of Enchantment, following the Santa Ana Star, Buffalo Thunder and Isleta Resort Casino.