William Hill Approves Caesars $3.7bn Takeover Bid by Caesars
During an extraordinary shareholder meeting on Thursday, November 19, William Hill shareholders voted with an overwhelming majority in support of Caesars Entertainment’s $3.7 billion bid to take over the company’s U.S. assets.
The meeting was the final hurdle within the company necessary for the deal to move forward notwithstanding regulatory approval from the Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) in the U.K. and the Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) in the U.S.
William Hill shareholders backed the move with 87% of the votes and 13% voting against the move. Welcoming the news Caesars chief executive, Tom Reeg had this to say in a statement:
“We continue to work towards satisfying the remaining regulatory conditions and look forward to completing the transaction next year and integrating William Hill U.S. into our Caesars sports betting and iGaming franchise.”Caesars chief executive, Tom Reeg
With William Hill U.S. transferring under Caesars’ control, the company stands to benefit from several locations across the entire country. William Hill U.S. has 170 retail locations in 13 states presently and accounts for 29% of the total market share.
The majority of these operations aren’t tied to a Caesars brick-and-mortar property, meaning Caesars is about to benefit from the partnership and expand its physical footprint significantly in the United States.
Bally’s Moves in to Acquire Bet.Works
Bally’s Corporation, which recently renamed from Twin Rivers Holdings after buying the trade name from Caesars Entertainment, and snapping up Bally’s Atlantic City, will now purchase a proprietor sports betting solution provider, Bet.Works.
With the acquisition, Bally’s is planning a quick restructuring that would enable the company to focus on both the brick-and-mortar segment as well as boost its presence in the iGaming and sports betting segments.
To this end, Bally’s is creating two independent divisions, Bally’s Interactive and Bally’s Casinos to manage iGaming and sports betting and iGaming respectively. Bally’s will keep the entire Bet.Works workforce consisting of some 130 employees and over 80 engineers.
Bally’s CEO George Papanier was excited at the news, arguing that it would;
“allow [the company] to evolve [its] interactive product suite to go where sports betting and iGaming customers are headed quickly.”Bally’s CEO, George Papanier
Bally’s has 14 million active customers, meaning the company has every bit of reason to try and bring them over to the digital segment, and seek broader synergies. At the same time, Bally’s struck another pivotal deal with Sinclair Broadcast Group, which has agreed to rename its 21 sports networks to Bally Sports.
Gov. Murphy Says NJ Casinos Not Linked to Covid-19 Spread
Gov. Phil Murphy spoke on Wednesday to oppose calls to shutter Atlantic City’s casinos, arguing that those properties were not linked to the spread of covid-19 infections across the city. Gov. Murphy said that his office had assessed the situation and “based on the evidence,” officials had, casinos had been able to manage the situation responsibly, preventing the spread of the disease.
A reporter asked why Atlantic City’s casinos would continue to work even though neighboring Philadelphia’s properties are shutting down, prompting the Governor to cite the statistics once again and explain that there were no reports of a significant outbreak coming from a participant on any of the gaming floors.
Murphy is one of the few officials across the United States to have taken a firm position and endorse casinos, allowing them to remain open. Operations in many states across the country have been suspended, and specifically Michigan, Illinois, New York and Indiana to name a few.
Nevada’s Governor Doesn’t Rule Additional Measures
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak is considering new mitigation options to stop the spread of coronavirus in the state. With a new surge reported earlier this week, authorities are scrambling to introduce measures that could help stave off the spike in infected cases.
The state has seen a 15.6% positive rate with 1,288 average daily cases, and a total of 125,000 cases at the time of reporting. Gov. Sisolak has tested positive for covid-19 himself as he remains to collaborate with local health authorities.
A possible way to curb the spread of the disease is to consider shutting down casinos, which are the economic backbone of the state. Owing to the recent closures, Nevada is already short of $1 billion in cash it would have generated otherwise were it not for the outbreak.
Gov. Sisolak didn’t mention casinos specifically but said that authorities will continue following the situation and how it evolves.
Michigan Shutters Casinos as Part of Stricter Measures
Michigan is shuttering casino operations for at least the next three weeks, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced on Tuesday, citing the spike in covid-19 cases. However, tribal casinos will remain open despite the Governor’s recommendations, and fully in their right to do so, as they have sovereignty in the matter.
Specifically, FireKeepers in Battle Creek, Soaring Eagle in Mount Pleasant, and Gun Lake in Wayland will continue operations. Spokespeople for most brands explained that the casinos felt confident in operating amid the outbreak and ensuring the safety of visitors, patrons, and staff members. However, some reduction in the casino’s operating hours will be enacted, and Gun Lake Casino will be available from 9 am to 5 am, down from the 24/7 available usually.
Michigan has seen steep declines in casino revenues, with the Detroit’s properties posting poor results. The casinos usually contribute $100 million in taxes each year, but this will now be severely reduced, not least because the casino had to remain shuttered over several months as well as cap their capacity at barely 15%.
America’s Gaming Revenues Hit $9bn despite Pandemic in Q3
The third quarter was generous for the American gambling industry. Despite an ongoing pandemic, curfews, limited capacity and operating hours, gambling revenues nationwide hit $9 billion, or a 19% decline from 2019 numbers. Yet, this was still 294% better than the second quarter of 2020 which was the most heavily impacted.
Close to 1,000 commercial and tribal casinos had to shut down operations in 43 states, a measure forced by covid-19. Presently, the country is recovering but new shutdowns have been announced across several states, suggesting a difficult fourth quarter.