With William Hill Acquisition, Caesars Looks to Dominate Sports Betting Space
On April 22nd, Caesars Entertainment Inc. completed their approximately $4 Billion acquisition of William Hill, a leading sportsbook operator, giving the combined company sports betting operations in 18 United States jurisdictions with mobile access offered in 13 of them. As more states legalize sports betting, Caesars expects to be operational in 20 locations.
As was previously announced, Caesars plans on selling off any former William Hill assets from outside the United States, specifically significant operations in the U.K., but other international online and retail wagering outlets will be included in the divestment.
The acquisition creates a powerful combination of casino and sportsbook operations, both retail and online. Caesars Entertainment, Inc. operates resorts under a number of different brands, including Caesars ®, Harrahs ®, Eldorado ®, and Horseshoe ®. Some of those locations are owned by Caesars, but others, such as in the tribal gaming space, are operated on behalf of other entities.
Growth in Sports Franchise Partnerships
The latest deals that Caesars has announced have to do with relationships with sports franchises and leagues. When the state of Arizona approved legalized sports betting, Caesars entered into an agreement with the Arizona Diamondbacks to be their exclusive sports betting partner.
The agreement includes the building and operation of a sportsbook, bar, and broadcast center in the Plaza area of Chase Field, the home stadium for the Diamondbacks, on the site of the former Game 7 Grill. In addition, Caesars has an agreement to be an Authorized Gaming Operator of Major League Baseball.
Previously, Caesars and William Hill became the first operator of a sportsbook inside a professional sports venue when they opened a facility at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C. The sportsbook is operated through an agreement with the Washington Wizards of the NBA and the Washington Capitals of the NHL, which are owned by Monumental Sports and Entertainment, which also owns the arena.
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Looking to the Future
Given the success that Caesars has had in partnership and now as owners of Willam Hill, there is no reason to believe that they won’t continue their growth in the sports betting space, especially with the increasingly favorable legislative and public opinion positions. The real potential is with sports franchises and sportsbooks in arenas, particularly in states where wagering on sports hasn’t been approved.
Texas, which now has legislation working its way through that state’s process, has to be of intense interest to Caesars Entertainment. With their groundbreaking deal in Washington and recent agreements in Arizona, Caesars is well-positioned to partner with a major franchise like the Dallas Cowboys and their massive AT&T Stadium.
There are seven other Big Four franchises located in Texas, as well as two innovative owners like Mark Cuban and Jerry Jones, who will probably find new ways to partner with an industry leader such as Caesars Entertainment. Although there was a Covid-19 effect on growth during the past year, sports betting is still experiencing explosive increases in popularity, and Caesars’ timely acquisition of William Hill will ensure that they are a major beneficiary of that growth.