First reported by the UK’s Sky News Tuesday and confirmed by the involved parties Wednesday, book maker and online gambling company William Hill has inked a partnership with Eldorado Resorts to operate sports books in Eldorado casinos in the United States.
The deal makes William Hill Eldorado’s sole partner for both brick-and-mortar and internet sports betting as well as general online gaming.
In a press release, William Hill Chief Executive officer Philip Bowcock said:
Partnering with Eldorado gives William Hill access to one of the largest and most attractive casino footprints with 23 million customers across multiple states. This partnership provides extensive cross sell and profit growth opportunities to both parties. Together, we are positioned to capture the evolving US opportunity – starting with land-based sports betting and extending to digital sports betting and, in some states, online gaming.
Eldorado Gearing Up
Eldorado isn’t a household name to most, but it does have 21 properties in 11 states. It operates the Isle, Eldorado, and Lady Luck brands, as well as individual casinos such as Circus Circus in Reno, Nevada. Eldorado is also in the process of acquiring Tropicana Entertainment, which will add five more properties and two more states to its portfolio.
As part of the deal, Eldorado will receive 20 percent of William Hill US and $50 million of William Hill PLC stock. This is a 25-year agreement.
Though William Hill is based in the UK, it does already have sports betting locations in the U.S., including 108 race and sportsbooks in Nevada. It also does business in New Jersey and West Virginia (which began a few days ago), among other states.
The news release issued by the companies says that they plan to open five sportsbooks within weeks:
Tropicana – Atlantic City, New Jersey
Mountaineer Casino Racetrack and Resort – New Cumberland, West Virginia
Lady Luck Casino – Vicksburg, Mississippi
Isle of Capri – Lula, Mississippi
Tropicana Casino – Greenville, Mississippi
Gary Carano, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Eldorado Inc. gave his two cents:
Having worked with the company since 2012, we believe William Hill represents the gold standard in global sports betting and we are confident that our expanded partnership will be successful. We look forward to bringing the excitement of sports betting to customers across our growing platform of leading casino resorts, creating value for all shareholders.
Beyond the natural reason to expand its U.S. base – the upcoming growth of the U.S. sports betting industry – one of the goals here for William Hill may be to try to make up for possible lost revenue in the UK in the future. Earlier this year, the government decided to reduce the maximum stake of fixed-odds betting terminals (think slots-type machines found in brick-and-mortar shops all over the country) from £100 all the way down to £2. William Hill said it expects as many as 900 of its shops to become unprofitable and its operating profits could plunge £100 million.