The William Hill sports betting brand has existed in Europe since 1935. That makes William Hill the granddaddy of legal sports betting operators located all over the world. As a result of the company’s ability to grow with the times, William Hill had also become one of the world’s largest gambling conglomerates.

It was the size and strength of William Hill that emboldened the company to jump the pond and join the sports betting community in America. They were given this opportunity when the U.S. Supreme Court effectively lifted the federal ban against sports betting in May of 2018. When the sports betting windows started opening in states across the U.S., William Hill wanted to be part of the picture. In the first three years, they managed to become a prominent U.S. bookmaker with retail and online sports betting operations in at least a dozen states. As of April 22, 2021, all of that changed.

Caesars Entertainment Acquires William Hill

While William Hill was feverishly making a name for itself in America, major U.S. gambling conglomerates were paying close attention to the explosive growth of the U.S. sports betting market. That became apparent when MGM Resorts International partnered with UK gambling operator GVC Holdings (now known as Entain) to form the BetMGM brand. Others to follow included Wynn Resorts with its new WynnBet brand.

The Caesar Entertainment brand has been a big part of the retail gambling landscape in America for close to 60 years. They too wanted a piece of the U.S. sports betting pie, a bigger piece that they were already getting through their Nevada sportsbook operations. The opportunity to make a big splash in the U.S. sports betting market came when William Hill became available for purchase.

On April 22, 2021, Caesars finally closed the deal to Acquire William Hill for about $4.0 billion US. The path was cleared for the acquisition when the High Court of Justice in England and Wales gave a thumbs up for the deal.

Caesars Strategy Moving Forward

Caesars Entertainment has no interest in becoming part of the sports betting community in Europe. With that in mind, Caesars Chief Executive Officer Tom Reeg stated the company would be selling off William Hill’s non-U.S. assets in the coming months. That will likely include any William Hill European retail gambling interests (betting shots and retail casinos) and the William Hill European online website/mobile app. That’s good news for European sports bettors who have grown up under the William Hill sports betting brand.

In the U.S., the strategy will be quite different. Caesars Entertainment has already started the process of rebranding the William Hill retail sportsbooks and betting kiosks to the Caesars name. They will also be changing the name of the William Hill website/mobile app to Caesars Sports. Concerned sports bettors will be happy to learn that the new Caesars Sports mobile app will be integrated into the existing Caesars rewards program with existing rewards points still intact.

Reeg wanted to make clear to stock investors and everyone in the sports betting community that Caesars is prepared to make a significant investment in its sports betting operations over the next couple of years. The company plans to aggressively go after market share.

According to the company’s analysts, gaining more market share will require a substantial financial investment. Reeg says the company is looking to invest more than $100 million a month just on its sports betting operations. He anticipates a lot of that money being spent to carefully market the new brand and get the name out to sports bettors in every state where sports betting is or will be legal.

Caesars’ Marketing Plan

Prior to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision, U.S. professional and college sports leagues avoided the sports betting issue. When the Supreme Court brought resolution to the sports betting question, it was the same pro sports leagues that wanted in on the sports betting action.

As part of its marketing strategy, Caesars will be looking to establish marketing partnerships with as many leagues and professional sports teams as possible. It’s noteworthy that right around the time of the William Hill acquisition, they were inking a major marketing partnership deal with the NFL. In doing so, they joined with fellow sports betting operators DraftKings and FanDuel as the NFL’s primary sports betting partners.

Earlier in the year, Caesars successfully won the bidding war for the naming rights to the New Orleans Saints’ Superdome. For the next 20 years, they will be paying $10 million a year to market the Caesars sports betting brand.

What This Means for William Hill Sports Bettors

In a perfect world, Caesars would like to complete the rebranding process by the start of the NFL season on September 9, 2021. At this point, it is not clear if they will meet that deadline in every state. With that said, the transition has started in some states.

Concerned William Hill customers can take comfort in knowing the rebranding effort should be seamless for bettors. There is nothing they really need to do other than to keep doing what they have been doing as William Hill customers. As is the case with most acquisitions, William Hill sports bettor will wake up one day and find that their website link or mobile app says Caesars Sports. When they go to visit a William Hill retail sportsbook, the name with say Caesars.

Sports betting in America is already big business and it’s going to get bigger when states like California, Florida, Ohio, and Texas join in the fray. That is sure to lead to a lot of other major sports betting acquisitions in the future.