William Hill has already played a big part in the states that now offer sportsbooks, and it has just landed a massive deal with Eldorado Resorts that will further enhance its legacy.
William Hill’s long history
As one of the leading bookmakers in Europe, William Hill is not looking to rest on its laurels. With the Supreme Court legalizing sports betting in May 2018, states have been bringing their sports betting bills to fruition ever since.
William Hill is based in London and it was originally founded in 1934. At that time, gambling was deemed to be illegal in the United Kingdom. It has gone through many different owners over the years.
The company went public on the London Stock Exchange back in 2002. It has always been near the top of the rankings when it comes to being the largest operator in the United Kingdom, often competing closely with the likes of Ladbrokes.
William Hill has more than 16,000 employees across the world, mainly located in Gibraltar, Ireland and the UK.
After becoming the largest operator in the UK, it started to look beyond its borders.
The company previously had a presence in Italy and Spain, but did not last long in these markets. In 2009, tit was one of the chief bidders to obtain the very first Indian online gambling license.
It expanded into the US for the first time in 2012, doing so via three sportsbooks in Nevada, which at that time was the only state fully allowed to offer sports betting.
It then purchased Leroy’s Lucky’s and certain operations from Club Cal Neva, totaling an investment of $53m (£41m). These sportsbooks were subsequently rebranded as William Hill, which received 55% of their revenue.
William Hill entered into the Australian market in 2013 when it acquired Tom Waterhouse, Centrebet and Sportingbet, being rebranded to William Hill Australia by 2015. This investment reached almost $462m (£357m) in total.
William Hill eventually exited the Australian market in 2018 when it sold its interests to Crownbet holdings for around $167m (£129m).
After the United States Supreme Court decided in May 2018 to overturn the 1992 federal ban on sports betting, William Hill quickly prepared itself to enter into this lucrative market.
William Hill in the US
It was obvious to all that there was a tremendous amount of opportunity in the US once sports betting was legalized once more.
Massive sums were being wagered illegally on sporting events for years in the US and this revenue will now become free game in states where it was legalized.
William Hill now has a significant presence in New Jersey, for example, as it has partnered with the Monmouth Park racetrack since sports betting was legalized in the state on June 14.
It has been inundated with calls from major sports teams in the US regarding potential sponsorship deals, with this set to become a valuable source of revenue for teams and organizations.
The company has also partnered with the likes of Ocean Resort Casino in Atlantic City. Its sportsbook is offered on the casino’s premises and there is an online gambling app available for players to place bets no matter where they are located in the state. This is one of five such offerings in New Jersey and was launched at the close of August.
Rhode Island is set to open up its sportsbooks before the close of 2018, having legalized sports betting on June 20. The Rhode Island Lottery is the party that was given the task of selecting partners for this sportsbook project in the state.
It selected William Hill to be the team in charge of the operations and risk management for sportsbooks in the state, with the systems and machines being provided by IGT.
It also has a presence in West Virginia and in Pennsylvania, the other states to have legalized sports betting so far.
In what has perhaps been the biggest deal struck by William Hill to date, it announced on September 5 a new partnership with Eldorado Resorts.
A 25-year partnership agreement was signed with the casino group, which is listed on the NASDAQ. This will see William Hill being allowed to extend its offerings to 13 states where sports betting is currently legal or it looks set to be in the near future.
This deal will come to fruition during the initial months of 2019 and it will make the company Eldorado’s official and exclusive partner for both land and digital-based sports betting services, in addition to other forms of online gaming.
Eldorado owns 21 properties in 11 different states currently, catering for 23 million customers. As it is set to acquire Tropicana Entertainment before the start of 2019, this number will rise to 13 states and 26 properties.
As part of this deal, Eldorado receives a 20% stake in the US business of William Hill in addition to $50m (£38.6m) worth of William Hill stock. This news led to the William Hill share price rising by nearly 5%.