In a move that some might see as unfortunate when it comes to losing local ownership and operational oversight the British betting and gambling stalwart, William Hill was sold to Caesar’s Entertainment for a whopping £2.2 billion.
The American casino and resort group immediately announced however that they had no interest in running an international gambling consortium and as such would be divesting themselves of all William Hill’s non-US assets.
This divestiture would include the William Hill and William Hill International brands and includes all online and land-based casino and betting operations with their offices, outlets and full staff complement.
Creating A Global Gambling Powerhouse in 2022
In their bid to acquire William Hill Caesar’s Entertainment faced stiff competition from a globally recognised online gambling company, 888 Holdings. Having been pipped at the finish line by the American corporation 888 made sure to lock down an agreement for the non-US assets as soon as the option to acquire was announced.
Over the past few months, 888 Holding’s has been securing all the necessary antitrust and pre-completion regulatory approvals that will ensure a smoother transition of ownership.
With this process successfully completed Itai Pazner, 888 CEO, said:
“This transaction will create one of the world’s leading online betting and gaming groups with superior scale, leading technology, increased diversification, and a platform for strong growth, supported by a portfolio of iconic brands.”
With the global scale of this acquisition and the demand for proper legal filings and financial controls, it is expected that 888 will have full operational control of William Hill and William Hill International by the end of Q2 2022
The Uncertain Future of Retail Gambling
When 888 first announced it would be acquiring all non-US William Hill assets the question of what would become of the company’s global betting shops was raised. There are nearly 1500 betting shops and gambling kiosks spread across the UK, Spain, Italy, and the Nordics.
At the time Pazner was quick to settle concerns of the future of the betting shops calling them a well-run business asset that generated substantial revenues and profits for the group.
With annual gross revenues of more than £1.1 billion, resulting in an EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) of just over £156 million their value is clear to see. The real question is whether 888 Holdings, an online gambling focused company, has any intention to get into the retail gambling space or whether they will simply sell off the land-based part of the business to another established betting shop.
Considering that £800 million of the betting shops £1.1 billion was generated by their online sites there is a strong case for 888 to untangle themselves from licensing, staffing and regulatory web that is the offline betting industry and stick with what they know best – growing an online gambling empire.