Undoubtedly the biggest news of the previous week was the $3.7 billion outright acquisition of British bookmaker William Hill's sports betting empire by US-based gambling empire Caesar's Entertainment.
The Deal's Intent
Caesars Entertainment said last Wednesday that the acquisition of the massive sports betting provider stood to bind its casino holdings to the fast-growing legal sports betting industry in the U.S.
Only US Assets Kept
Caesar also clarified that the organisation is primarily concerned with the company’s U.S. assets, and intended to sell off William Hill’s prized UK assets as well as WH assets in other countries.
Caesar's Continuing US Integration
Caesar's CEO Tom Reeg expanded on the organisational strategy to integrate land based-casinos, sports betting and online gaming:
“William Hill’s sports betting expertise will complement Caesars’ current offering, enabling the combined group to better serve our customers in the fast growing U.S. sports betting and online market.”
Buyer of Overseas Assets?
Private equity firm Apollo Global Management Inc. expressed previous interest in acquiring William Hill; and is considered a potential purchaser for WH overseas assets.
William Hill was founded in 1934 to rise to its UK household name status and then into the global betting and iGaming industry.
Alas, its seemingly endless reign began to crumble with the disenchantment of 2018, when the British government began imposing significant limits on the fees WH and other bookmakers could charge on betting terminals—which also coincided with PASPA, and the first time WH turned its attention to the US for greener pastures.
WH Chairman Explains
Company chairman Roger Devlin claims he is delivering a win for shareholders:
“The William Hill board believes this is the best option for William Hill at an attractive price for shareholders,” in light of “the risk and significant investment required to maximize the U.S. opportunity given intense competition in the U.S. and the potential for regulatory disruption in the U.K. and Europe.”
It looks like William Hill got its investors out at the right time, but it is still amazing to think that even one of High Street's very biggest is now being sold for parts. Who could have known at the time that the PASPA repeal and the FOBT controversy were destined to intersect so fatefully?