Each week, CasinoBeats breaks down the numbers behind some of the industry’s most interesting stories. This week’s edition looks at a potential acquisition for William Hill, as well as a landmark new sponsorship for Caesars.
William Hill outlined its ambition to grow its digital footprint, putting forward a cash offer to acquire the MRG Group for a sum equivalent to €271m.
The operator offered its opening SEK69 in cash per share to MRG investors, representing a total of SEK2,819m (€270.96m).
William Hill CEO Philip Bowcock commented on the potential deal: “This proposed acquisition accelerates the diversification of William Hill – immediately making us a more digital and more international business.
“MRG will provide William Hill with an international hub in Malta with market entry expertise and strong growth momentum in a number of European countries. William Hill will move from a single brand to a suite of brands that can maximise growth opportunities moving forward in new and existing markets.”
Ulrik Bengtsson, William Hill’s chief digital officer, will be tasked with heading the integration of MRG within the wider group. Bengtsson has a strong track record in Nordic online gaming businesses thanks to his time leading operator Betsson.
In the statement, William Hill outlined it would undertake “a careful review of the capabilities and needs of the new combined operations, the optimal structure for future success will be determined”.
It adds: “There are currently, before completion of the offer, no decisions on any material changes to MRG’s employees and management or to the existing organisation and operations, including the terms of employment and locations of the business.” Clearly this is subject to review once (and if) the transaction goes through.”
American bettor Robert Barnes, who claims to be America’s most successful political gambler, has staked £100,000 with Ladbrokes on the Republicans holding on to a House of Representatives majority in the US Midterms.
Barnes flew into the UK on Friday to specifically place the bet with the firm, which was wagered at its Curzon Street shop in Mayfair, London.
It’s currently 4/9 that the GOP hold on to a House majority, with the Democrats chalked up at 13/8. 100/1 says there is no overall majority.
Jessica Bridge of Ladbrokes said: “We’ve seen plenty of large bets in the political punting world, but this is a first having a customer fly over from the states to place such a hefty wager.”
Caesars Entertainment has unveiled a landmark 15-year partnership that sees the firm named as the first founding partner of the Las Vegas Stadium.
The breathtaking 65,000-seater stadium is set to open for the 2020 National Football League season and will be the home of the Las Vegas Raiders, when the franchise completes its controversial move from longtime home of Oakland, California.
Chris Holdren, chief marketing officer for Caesars Entertainment, commented: “Sports have long been a core part of the Caesars experience. With this deep partnership, Caesars will become an essential part of the game time ritual for Raiders fans everywhere. From activations to exclusive experiences, fans of the silver and black will see Caesars as their home on game day.”
Under the terms of the “historic partnership,” the Raiders first with a gaming and hospitality company, will provide selected customers and Total Rewards members access to a series of exclusive experiences.
Chief among which will be entry to the customised Caesars-branded owners suite at the 50-yard line of the stadium, in addition to VIP dinners on the field, training facility events, fantasy camp participation and stadium tours, along with tickets to home games and most stadium events.
As a founding partner, Caesars will also host a branded stadium entrance and drop off zone, digital signage, media, radio and print assets in addition to alumni, player and cheerleader appearances.
Marc Badain, president of the Raiders, added: “The Raiders are proud to welcome Caesars Entertainment as a founding partner of Las Vegas Stadium.
“We are honoured to align with a company that shares the Raiders’ values of improving the local community – and delivering exceptional customer service in creating this transformative project.”
This week, UK sports minister Tracey Crouch weakened the position of the Conservative party, as she resigned from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sports citing the government’s delay in implementing its £2 FOBTs stake reduction.
Crouch had served as sports minister since 2015, leading the government’s relations with the UK betting and gambling sectors.
Last Monday’s 2018 Budget announcement saw the Treasury confirm that it would implement its controversial £2 FOBTs cut in October 2019, alongside an increase in Remote Gambling Duty from 15-21 per cent.
Expecting the government to confirm that it would move ahead with a desired April, 2019, deadline on FOBTs, Crouch and fellow cross-party ministers had deemed the delay as “unjustifiable”.
Despite protests, the government has stood by its decision, stating that it needed to maintain its October, 2019, date in order to avoid any shortfall in industry taxes.
The £2 reduction on FOBTs wagering has become a controversial matter for the government, leading to a well-documented rift between DCMS and the Treasury.
Publishing her letter of resignation to PM Theresa May, Crouch, stated that the government’s decision was an “unnecessary measure” and that FOBTs wagering would continue to target the UK’s most deprived areas including her constituency of Chatham and Aylesford in Kent.
“The alignment of the stake reduction with an increase in remote gaming duty was a condition put on by the Treasury to provide fiscal neutrality but is not a technical necessity,” she added, “so there is no reason why implementation cannot come sooner than October.”