Caesars Entertainment has officially completed it acquisition of William Hill. The announcement was made in a first quarter earnings call this past Tuesday.
Caesars CEO Tom Reeg sees the new deal as an extraordinary opportunity for the brands.
This big news could come with a William Hill Sportsbook rebrand in Tennessee, just months after the brand launched in the state.
The history behind William Hill’s acquisition
In an effort to expand its portfolio, Caesars purchased international sports betting giant William Hill Sportsbook for $3.7 billion back in September. This is far from the first major deal Caesars has recently made, though.
Last July, Caesars and fellow casino brand Eldorado Resorts announced the biggest merger in the industry to date. As a result, Caesars Entertainment Corporation was born, becoming the largest casino and entertainment brand in the nation.
Caesars acquired five new casino locations under Eldorado, adding to its total of more than 55 casinos. Additionally, the Caesars loyalty program now includes over 60 million members.
When it came to the William Hill acquisition, Caesars applied a similar concept. By merging brands, Caesars is able to leverage its namesake and market to a new sports betting sector, in addition to its already expansive database.
William Hill currently operates its sportsbook in 17 US states as well as in the District of Columbia and The Bahamas. Thanks to Caesars, its presence is already expanding.
One of Caesars’ properties, Harrah’s Cherokee Casino, is located in North Carolina, a mere hour’s drive from Gatlinburg, Tennessee. A brand new sportsbook operated by William Hill, simply named The Book, debuted in the casino earlier this year.
Caesars also owns Harrah’s Metropolis in Illinois, which is just over a two-hour drive for residents of Nashville, Tennessee. This specific location does not yet offer sports betting, though the opportunity now seems to be more prevalent than ever.
Is a William Hill rebrand in the works?
Since the acquisition, many have wondered whether a William Hill rebrand would be imminent. After all, Caesars already has strong nationwide brand recognition, so merging all of the sports betting assets under one name would make sense.
One Caesars spokesperson says a partial rebrand should be expected:
“While our mobile app and most sports books will be rebranded to reflect that they are now a part of Caesars Entertainment, the William Hill brand will continue to be featured in both mobile and retail sportsbooks depending on the state.”
Reeg elaborated on the idea during the company’s earnings call. Ultimately, he said, the sportsbook would be rebranded to Caesars or Caesars Sports in some states. This would allow for more flexibility to market the new sports betting portion of the brand to the Caesars Rewards database.
If all goes as planned, this name change could come as soon as the start of football season.
William Hill’s future success could mirror that of BetMGM
Reeg sees the success of competitor BetMGM as a hopeful sign for the future of William Hill.
BetMGM entered the US market as a new brand, but with ties to its parent company, MGM Resorts International, it acquired a substantial customer database and has since situated itself as one of the largest online gaming brands in the nation.
In fact, Tennessee bettors consistently wager more at BetMGM than they do at any other sportsbook.
The sportsbook reportedly collected 34% of Tennessee’s entire gaming revenue in November and December, when only four books were operating.
Two more sportsbooks entered the picture halfway through March, one of them being William Hill, and BetMGM still managed to pull away with 34% of the state’s betting revenue.
PlayTenn recently obtained the Tennessee sports betting handle breakdown between operators from the Tennessee Education Lottery:
Caesars gathers upward momentum
Caesars has reported exceptional growth since the start of the pandemic. This has reflected in a share price that has increased by almost 980% in a 12-month timeframe.
During its Q1 earnings call, the brand announced that it had sold out weekends at its Las Vegas resort locations for the foreseeable future. Additionally, Caesars has estimated its sports and online gaming brand will generate over $600 million in net revenue in 2021.
Along with its recent sportsbook acquisition, Caesars is also now an official tri-exclusive partner of the NFL and sponsor of the New Orleans Saints‘ Superdome.
The company plans to pay down at least $2 billion in debt over the next year. Part of the way it intends to do so is by selling off William Hill’s non-US assets.
Once the downsize is complete, Caesars can focus its efforts on becoming America’s next great sports betting emperor.