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Et Tu, Brute? Caesars Takes Stab At US Market With William Hill Purchase

Empire building is a fickle thing.

But in a historic reversal, it seems that Caesars has finally gotten the upper hand, stabbing the anti-monopoly set in the back with its recent acquisition of William Hill.

Okay, maybe that’s a bit extreme, but Caesars Entertainment did just purchase the UK bookmaker for $3.7 billion.

Mind you, Caesars isn’t just buying William Hill US, the America-focused bookmaking spinoff launched less than two years ago. This is the whole kit and caboodle – the worldwide operation.

And for just $3.7 billion – given the nascent US sports betting market and the healthy UK market – it sure seems like a bargain.

The deal could be even sweeter, too, as Caesar’s is reportedly not too keen on doing business in Europe.

The company says it will likely sell off the brand for the international market, focusing only on the domestic US industry.

Per Caesars CEO Tom Reeg:

“The opportunity to combine our land-based casinos, sports betting, and online gaming in the US is a truly exciting prospect. William Hill’s sports betting expertise will complement Caesars’ current offering, enabling the combined group to better serve our customers in the fast-growing US betting and online market.”

For those following the industry, of course, this isn’t a shocker.

Caesars and William Hill were already partners in the United States, with Caesars owning some 20% of the William Hill US imprint.

This has allowed the casino company to quickly open and operate sports betting terminals in 50+ land-based US casino venues to date.

Of course, with sports betting being the most popular gambling market in the world – and the fastest-growing gambling market in America – many might wonder why William Hill would sell out now.

After all, the brand has been around for almost a century, opening its doors to bettors for the first time all the way back in 1934.

However, upon closer scrutiny, the sale does make sense.

Recently, the UK instituted laws significantly diminishing the amount of fees and vigorish that operators like William Hill could claim via their ubiquitous betting kiosks, which has reduced revenue for such companies across the board.

In 2020, William Hill’s net income was $70.2 million on a total revenue haul of just $1.824 billion. Granted these numbers were also depressed by the lack of sports to bet on during the coronavirus crisis, the figures aren’t particularly good even in that context.

Thus, it looks like the acquisition by Caesars is timely and valuable.

This sentiment is echoed by William Hill CEO chairman Roger Devlin, stating that:

“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 US opportunity given intense competition in the US and the potential for regulatory disruption in the UK and Europe.”

How this will position Caesars going forward remains to be seen, as the company’s sports betting product has been running a distant fourth across the board behind heavy hitters like MGM, DraftKings, and FanDuel.

While the move is certainly another step in the industrial push to normalize US sports betting, the market is still beholden to the legislative processes in each state, most of which have yet to legalize sports betting at all.

Of course, you don’t have to wait for Caesars to bring a William Hill betting product to your state in order to legally and safely wager on sports. You don’t even have to wait for your state to legalize domestic sports betting!

The fact is, if you want the most valuable lines, the most flexible bonuses, and the most accessible deposit and withdrawal options – including Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies – you can wager online right now with the best overseas sportsbooks.

Sites like Bovada, BetOnline, and MyBookie AG have all been taking US bettors for years, giving them the best odds on all US and international sports legally and conveniently.

Additionally, these sites aren’t geo-fenced like Caesars or William Hill services, allowing you to wager from anywhere in America, day or night, at your discretion.

Best of all, these gambling sites also have robust iGaming suites with all the online casino games and fair-play certifications you expect.

(Only five US states offer domestic iGaming, and it will be years before the majority of Americans have local access to online casino gambling.)

Even online poker is available with most of these offshore vendors, and you only have to be 18 or older to sign up and play now.

Clearly, there is tremendous momentum for the US domestic betting market, but it seems like it’s still a long way off – perhaps an impossibly long way off – from matching what established international vendors already offer to US customers.

So congrats to Caesars on this savvy purchase, but we think we’ll keep gambling with our favorite offshore sportsbooks and casino sites.

Source: Associated Press