Will Caesars Purchase Of William Hill Tempt Hungry Sports Bettors?

Caesars is, without question, one of the biggest names in the US brick-and-mortar casino industry.

Since its merger with Eldorado Resorts in mid-2020, Caesars Entertainment – as the company is now known – owns over 70 popular retail gambling destinations around the United States.

These include venues operating under major brand names like Caesars Palace, Eldorado, Harrah’s, Bally’s, Tropicana, Horseshoe, and others.

In short, for anyone in the gambling market, Caesars is a well-known and well-regarded industrial mainstay.

But one arena in which the brand has faltered has been online sports betting.

When PASPA was overturned by the Supreme Court in 2018, despite being the company perhaps best situated to immediately take advantage of legal sports betting within its many US properties, that didn’t really happen.

And it should have.

Caesars has a bigger presence in more US states than arguably any other gaming company, and many of those states were largely the first to go all-in on domestic sports betting.

But Caesars was quickly outclassed by the likes of MGM (with its BetMGM product) and daily fantasy brands FanDuel and DraftKings, both of whom pivoted to sports gambling almost immediately.

Indeed, those latter two firms – once dedicated strictly to DFS – are now some of the most valuable investment properties in the gambling industry, all on the strength of their immediate sportsbook successes.

While FanDuel and DraftKings were so positioned thanks to their online and technical acumen (as the DFS product is solely predicated on mobile betting access), there’s really no reason for Caesars to be a distant third or fourth to anyone in the sports betting business.

For its part, Caesars seems to agree.

That’s why Caesars is finally gearing up to put the ribbon on its purchase of UK bookmaker William Hill.

That deal was initially proposed and agreed to in September 2020, and just a few regulatory hurdles remain.

With the UK sports betting landscape changing as new governmental limits hinder the profit potential for betting kiosk operators like William Hill, the sale was now or never.

Plus, the bookmaker was coming off a disastrous year that saw the coronavirus interrupt sports league operations – and, consequently, sports betting operations – throughout Europe and the rest of the world.

With both of those factors providing substantial motivation, the time was right for Caesars to buy the famed operator.

That said, Caesars is not actually interested in William Hill’s UK business.

While Caesars is buying the entire company (not just William Hill US), it intends to utilize the William Hill portfolio strictly in its efforts to claw back some of the US betting market that it’s lost to competitors.

The deal is valued at $3.7 billion, and Caesars CEO Tom Reeg explains what the purchase is really all about:

“The opportunity to combine our land based-casinos, sports betting and online gaming in the U.S. is a truly exciting prospect. William Hill’s sports betting expertise will complement Caesars’ current offering, enabling the combined group to serve our customers in the fast-growing U.S. sports betting and online market. We look forward to working with William Hill to support future growth in the U.S. by providing our customers with a superior and comprehensive experience across all areas of gaming, sports betting, and entertainment.”

Roger Devlin, William Hill chairman, explains that the agreed sale is timely under the unique market and social circumstances facing the brand in the UK:

“The William Hill Board believes this is the best option for William Hill at an attractive price for shareholders. It recognizes the significant progress the William Hill Group has made over the last 18 months, as well as 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.”

Of course, even with the William Hill acquisition, Caesars has a steep hill to climb to catch up to the competition.

And not just the domestic competition, either.

In fact, it’s the offshore competition that Caesars – and all US sports betting operators – have to worry about in the long run.

Sites like Bovada, BetOnline AG, MyBookie, and other top online sportsbooks have been legally taking US customers for generations, and there are millions of American bettors that aren’t too keen on walking away from their trusted service providers to take a chance on domestic brands.

Which is sensible.

After all, online sportsbooks that operate outside of US borders simply have better odds and lines – and better bonuses – than any US-based company can match.

Additionally, these offshore sportsbooks accept members at just 18 years old (not 21+ like most domestic services), and they even take Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, and a host of other cryptocurrencies.

The biggest draw, of course, is that first point:

Offshore sportsbooks have better odds and lines.

Because international sportsbooks aren’t geofenced like domestic books are (as a result of the Wire Act, which mandates that any domestic sportsbook can only take wagers from those physically inside the state where the book operates), there are no crazy hometown skews or weighted odds on regional teams.

For example, if you live in New York or New Jersey and want to bet on the Yankees, your payouts will always be worse than they’d be when making the same exact wager online.

In many cases, bettors pay premiums in excess of 20-30 percent just for placing their wagers with local operators. For the average US sports bettor, that can work out to thousands of dollars per year!

Until that’s fixed – which it likely never will be – legal offshore betting sites will always offer more bang for your buck.

Caesars can only build its empire so far…

Source: PR Newswire