William Hill Strikes Gold with Eldorado Resorts, Signs Major US Sports Betting Deal

Posted on: September 5, 2018, 02:00h. 

Last updated on: September 5, 2018, 01:48h.

William Hill has pulled off a US sports betting coup, signing a 25-year deal with Eldorado Resorts, one of the biggest regional casino operators in America.

William Hill
William Hill’s deal with Eldorado Resorts is a game-changer for the British bookie. The Nevada-based casino operator has one of the biggest regional footprints in the US, including The Eldorado in Reno (pictured). (Image: Eldorado Resorts)

The British bookmaking giant will become Eldorado’s exclusive sports betting partner, providing both digital and land-based sports betting services, as well as online gaming, in states where legal.

The deal will expand Hill’s US footprint significantly — Eldorado owns 21 casinos in 11 states, which will increase its presence from six states to 13. William Hill is currently the market leader in Nevada, with around a 55 percent market share and is currently the only operator to have a presence in all five states that have legal sports betting up and running.

Under the terms of the deal, Eldorado will take a 20 percent stake in the bookmaker’s US operations and has been granted $50 million worth of shares in the larger William Hill group. While Eldorado will employ William Hill services exclusively, the British company will be free to seek new partnerships independently.

Excess Market Access

The fledgling US sports betting sector is developing into a complex but necessary patchwork of alliances between homegrown casino groups and European betting operators and technology companies.

Regulation is being rolled out gradually on a state by state basis and betting companies are required to partner with existing land-based licensees, casinos, racetracks, or lottery companies.

That means, for the betting companies scrambling to gain a foothold in the fledgling market, partners with presence in multiple states are hugely desirable. While MGM, LVS, Wynn and Caesars, may be the most powerful operators in the US, companies like Eldorado that specialize in smaller regional casino markets offer wider access for a company like William Hill.

William Hill ‘Retains Control’

The betting giant’s CEO Philip Bowcock had previously said he would prefer his company to remain independent in the US. But on Wednesday, he told The Independent that the Eldorado deal provided flexibility and allowed William Hill to “retain control and run this as we see fit going forward.”

You’ll seen others that have done deals. If you look at GVC/MGM, that was a 50/50 split. The difference between this and that is: that is exclusive. Their ability to do independent deals — I don’t know the exact terms — but if I am an independent, do I want to get into bed with a company that is owned by MGM?

“Because [ours] is an 80/20 deal, for us to continue to do independent deals where we see fit in states either where Eldorado properties are, or in states where Eldorado properties are not. What this deal really gives us is that it cements the market access position for William Hill US.”

William Hill’s shares rose 6 percent on London Stock Exchange following the announcement of the deal.