William Hill is continuing to expand its reach in the American sports betting marketplace, as the company has reached a deal with casino operator Eldorado Resorts to establish sportsbooks in their facilities across the United States.

William Hill Eldorado Resorts
William Hill continued its pivot to the American sports betting market on Wednesday, announcing a partnership agreement with Eldorado Resorts. (Image: David Dew/Racing Post)

The agreement sees William Hill US get the exclusive right to manage sportsbooks for Eldorado for a 25-year period, with both companies investing equally in the development of both the physical sportsbooks and online betting operations.

William Hill Expands Market Access

Eldorado Resorts is one of the largest land-based casino operators in the United States. The company is expected to operate a total of 26 casinos in 13 different states once it completes its acquisition of Tropicana Entertainment, a transaction that is expected to be finalized later this year.

Under the terms of the deal, Eldorado will purchase a 20 percent stake in William Hill US. The operator expects to have sportsbooks taking bets in Mississippi and West Virginia before the end of the current NFL season.

For William Hill, the deal continues the British bookmakers pivot to the United States, where it is already a major player in Nevadas sports betting industry and has worked to quickly enter other emerging markets as well.

We have spent considerable time looking carefully for the right partners and structure to build a business of scale in the US, William Hill CEO Philip Bowcock said during a Wednesday conference call. This announcement today creates certainty around market access.

It is expected that William Hill books will open in at least five Eldorado properties within the next few weeks. Future openings will follow, though the full scope of the arrangement will largely depend on which states decide to regulate sports betting within their borders.

US Gains Could Offset UK Challenges

William Hills focus on the US sports betting market comes at a time when their UK operations are beginning to look less profitable. Much of this is due to the incoming regulations on fixed-odds betting terminals, with a 2 maximum bet on the lucrative machines expected to come into effect by 2020.

William Hills share price has fallen too far, analysts at Peel Hunt said in reaction to the news. Todays deal serves as a reminder that the Group has an interesting option in the US as well as more challenged businesses in the UK.

For the bookmaker, one of the best aspects of their agreement with Eldorado is the fact that it is not an exclusive arrangement. According to Bowcock, William Hill is still open to create more partnerships with other casino operators, even in states where Eldorado is established.

There is no doubt we will continue to do independent deals as we see fit, Bowcock said. Its still full guns blazing.

William Hill is one of one several major overseas gambling firms that is looking to cash in on the newly opened American sports betting market. Paddy Power Betfair acquired daily fantasy sports site FanDuel earlier this year with plans on using it as an entry point into the US. Both FanDuel and DFS rival DraftKings are considered well-positioned to capitalize on sports betting opportunities thanks to the legions of sports fans theyve turned into customers in recent years.

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