Ex-William Hill CEO Asher Named IGT Sports Betting President
Former William Hill CEO Joe Asher is now the new President of Sports Betting at International Game Technology. IGT announced the move on Friday.
Asher will lead the ongoing expansion of IGT PlaySports' sports wagering business in North America markets. The PlaySports sports betting solution powers approximately 50 U.S. sportsbooks for 20 customers across 18 states.
“We expect continued growth in our PlaySports business, and Joe Asher’s knowledge, experience, network and vision for sports betting are key ingredients to boosting our future success,” Enrico Drago, IGT CEO Digital & Betting, said in a media release.
Asher was inducted into the Sports Betting Hall of Fame Class of 2021 and has held management positions at numerous racetracks, including Brandywine Raceway, Dover Downs, Harrington Raceway and Foxboro Raceway. He served as the thoroughbred racing handicapper at Delaware Park for the Wilmington News-Journal and has called races as an announcer at Harrington, Foxboro, Brandywine and Dover Downs. Asher still announces horse races as a guest announcer at Elko County Fair.
"I'm really excited to join Enrico Drago and the IGT PlaySports team to help this business reach new heights for our customers and our shareholders," Asher said in a media release. "This is a unique moment in the North American gaming industry as sports betting is expanding rapidly and opportunities abound. I have some background working in partnership with PlaySports and I look forward to working with our team to further enhance our technology and trading capabilities to serve our existing and future customers."
Outside of sports betting, Asher was an attorney with Skadden, Arps Slate, Meagher & Flom. He is a graduate of the University of Delaware and the Delaware Law School of Widener University and has served as a judicial clerkship with the Supreme Court of Delaware.
Asher Proponent of Responsible Gambling
In an interview with Gambling.com, Asher highlighted the importance of responsible gambling. He mentioned how compulsive betting had an impact on his father.
“My dad was a compulsive gambler and, you know, he would bet on pretty much everything he could bet on — horses and sports and dice and cards, and he couldn’t control it,” Asher said. “There would be times when he’d go cold turkey, go to Gamblers Anonymous meetings but eventually he’d come back to it. He used to bet with his bookie in Wilmington, Delaware. ... My dad had a newsstand in Wilmington. And ultimately his gambling cost him his newsstand. So, I’ve seen up-close the harm that can be caused by people with gambling problems.”
When Asher was with William Hill, the company won a lawsuit for copyright infringement and used the settlement proceeds for charity. Some of the funding went to a problem organization in New Jersey, where the money was used for a series of public service announcement commercials that were played on television, radio and the internet.
“It’s easy to say that we want to do whatever we can to minimize the risk for problem gambling,” Asher said. “I think everybody would agree that you don’t want — or at least all reputable operators would say — they don’t want somebody with a gambling problem to be betting with them.
“The difficulty is, how do you do something about it? What do you do? That’s really where the difficulty lies. And there’s no easy answer. Certainly, one of the areas where we try to focus — (and) there are several — is training of employees. You know, we always tell employees every customer is important. (But) no customer is so important that you should be afraid to lose his or her business (if they have a gambling problem).
“Part of the training is focused on explaining the issue and trying to educate the staff about signs and what to do if they encounter somebody they think may have a problem.”
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