The nation’s largest casino operator, Caesars Entertainment, is paying $3.7 billion to buy out sportsbooks operator William Hill, the two announced early Wednesday morning.
Caesars, in a Wednesday statement, cited the sports betting and online gaming sectors’ status as “one of the largest areas of growth in the U.S. gaming industry” as a driving factor for its purchase.
The gambling juggernaut currently owns four of Atlantic City’s nine casinos – Caesars Palace Atlantic City, Bally’s Atlantic City, Harrah’s Resort and, following a $17.3 billion deal from July, Caesars merged with Eldorado Resorts to take over control of The Tropicana.
William Hill is currently the sportsbook operator for the Tropicana.
“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,” Caesars Entertainment Chief Executive Officer Tom Reeg said in a Wednesday statement.
William Hill Chairman Roger Devlin assured company employees that “for now, it is very much business as usual,” and that employees would be kept in the loop on updates of the takeover.
“This is the best option for William Hill at an attractive price,” he said. “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.”
The deal is subject to regulatory approval, and is expected to take place in the second half of 2021, Caesars said. Devlin cautioned about the “potential for regulatory disruption in the U.K. and Europe.”
With sweeping shutdowns of the resort town’s nine brick and mortar gambling establishments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic beginning this past March, casino floor revenue collapsed and online gambling became a tenable lifeline.
That’s gradually transformed into previously unseen levels of profits for online gaming, even as casinos are allowed to reopen—if only at 25 percent capacity.
August numbers from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, which oversees the state’s gambling and sports-betting market, showed that patrons bet a record-high $602 million at the state’s online sportsbooks.
“Internet gaming win more than doubled compared to the same month last year, providing a dependable revenue stream for the industry as it rebounds,” James Plousis, chairman of the state’s Casino Control Commission, said earlier in the month.