William Hill US Considering Online Merger With Caesars Entertainment

  • Discussions on merging William Hill sports betting with Caesars' online casino product confirmed
  • Caesars previously estimated that combined online operations could generate $700m in 2021
  • William Hill has just completed CG Technology acquisition after getting regulatory approval
  • Deal sees sports betting company take over retail sportsbooks at six notable Las Vegas casinos
  • Eldorado-Caesars merger gives William Hill access to Caesars properties across the US
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Fanatics is reportedly considering an acquisition of sports betting operator Tipico. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Partners in discussions

UK gambling company William Hill is looking at merging its online sports betting business in the US with the online casino offerings of its partner Caesars Entertainment. 

According to a Bloomberg news report, William Hill US CEO Joe Asher has confirmed that discussions with Caesars are ongoing about combining their respective operations. Caesars already owns 20% of William Hill US as part of a deal that the latter signed a couple of years ago with Eldorado Resorts. Eldorado and Caesars also completed a merger of their own in July 2020. 

In an interview about a potential online merger, Asher said: “There’s a lot of opportunity in there, and we think that we’ve got some really powerful assets in this space, so obviously it’s an ongoing subject of discussion.”

could generate revenue of $700m in 2021

Caesars previously estimated that combining the two operations could generate revenue of $700m in 2021. Caesars CEO Tom Reeg said of the possibility: “William Hill is our partner solely on sports betting. You’d be gathering all our mobile assets, both sports and online. That would be ideal.”

According to a Wolfe Research analyst, Jared Shojaian, the merger could be worth upwards of $7bn. 

William Hill making moves

William Hill Plc also recently bought CG Technology, a sports betting operation created by Wall Street firm Cantor Fitzgerald LP. The deal was finalized on September 1 after obtaining regulatory approval from the Nevada Gaming Commission last week. Its valuation is less than $50m according to Bloomberg, with the final figure including funds relating to past litigation between the two parties.

now operating four sportsbooks at notable Las Vegas Strip casinos

As part of the CG Technology acquisition, which was originally announced in November 2019, William Hill is now operating four sportsbooks at notable Las Vegas Strip casinos – The Silverton, The Palazzo Resort, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, and The Venetian Resort. It is also set to take over the retail sports betting operations at The Palms and The Tropicana, but these two properties remain closed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Asher said of this latest acquisition: “We didn’t have a big footprint on the Strip. Now we’ll have a much bigger presence and some of the top properties.”

Exclusivity deal extends reach

In September 2018, William Hill obtained exclusive rights to operate all sportsbooks at Eldorado Resorts casinos and to run all mobile sports betting activity on Eldorado’s behalf. Following the $17.3bn July merger agreement between Eldorado and Caesars, the exclusivity deal now extends to the Caesars properties across the country.

In the coming weeks, William Hill is set to take over the operations of about 15 more locations. This would see William Hill operate 170 retail locations across 13 states. Caesars itself has online casino offerings in a number of states, including New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

While William Hill’s US operations have largely been focused on sports betting, the company recently announced it is getting ready to launch an online casino in New Jersey in the second half of 2020. The plan aligns with William Hill’s recent heavy focus on US expansion.

In the H1 2020 earnings report for William Hill Group, CEO Ulrik Bengtsson stated: “We have the financial strength to confidently pursue our growth agenda, taking advantage of our market leading position in sports betting in the U.S., and the terrific opportunity that Eldorado’s merger with Caesars brings.”

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