Each week, CasinoBeats breaks down the numbers behind some of the industry’s most interesting stories. In our latest edition, we revisit an Arizona sports betting challenge, Flutter spending limit, and an 888 purchase of William Hill assets.
888 confirmed that an agreement had been reached with Caesars Entertainment that will see the group acquire the non-US business of William Hill for £2.2bn.
The transaction, which was mooted earlier in the week, will net Caesars proceeds of approximately £835m or $1.2bn, and is expected to close during the first quarter of 2022, subject to receipt of shareholder and regulatory approvals.
Caesars Entertainment announced the delayed completion of its $4bn (£2.9bn) acquisition of William Hill on April 22, 2021, and maintained that the sale of these assets would follow.
The casino operator cited a primary interest in integrating the company’s American operations to enhance its position in the burgeoning US online sports betting and gaming market.
This disposal now means that Caesars essentially acquired the William Hill US assets for £700m in a market where valuations are high in anticipation of massive sports betting growth.
“Of course, whilst we continue to take action to raise standards in the gambling industry, it is only right that we look to raise our own standards as well,” said the Gambling Commission’s executive director Tim Miller amid a ‘Social Responsibility for Gambling Operators’ keynote address at Know Now’s 2021 conference.
Ahead of a package of changes being implemented in a bid to make online games safer, Miller examined key areas of focus for the regulator and a planned next consultation, as well as issuing a note of caution to operators regarding data provided through the regulatory returns process.
“We are not just working in this way to make gambling fairer and safer. We also adopt the same approach to keeping crime out of gambling,” Miller continued when addressing the impending changes to online slots.
This will bring a ban on features that speed up play or give the illusion of control over the outcome; spin speeds faster than 2.5 seconds; auto-play; and sounds or imagery which suggest a win when the return is equal to, or below, a stake; from October 31.
Flutter Entertainment disclosed a new policy which will see the introduction of a spending backstop of £500 per month for all customers under the age of 25.
The new policy will be implemented for all customers across the Paddy Power, Betfair and Sky Betting & Gaming brands in the UK and in Ireland, as the operator looks to “further enhance protections for younger customers and encourage sensible spending across its platforms”.
The group said that those customers that can demonstrate an income to sustain an increased level of spend will have to undertake “a detailed process” before an alternative limit is set.
The move forms part of Flutter’s risk-based affordability triple step framework, a risk-based offering which uses real-time data to monitor player activity and behaviours in a bid to ensure that gambling remains safe and enjoyable for customers.
The Betting and Gaming Council plans to invest in apprenticeships and training opportunities for young people as it reveals its plans in the UK’s post-pandemic economic recovery.
Pledging to launch 5,000 apprenticeships, the BGC and its members have vowed to get young people looking to work in the British betting and gaming industry between now and 2025.
The BGC aims to support the UK government’s Plan for Jobs via the initiative, with regulated operators also signing up for the Kick Start scheme to provide job opportunities for 16 to 24-year-olds currently receiving universal credit.
Arizona’s Maricopa County Superior Court refused a Yavapai Prescott Indian tribe sports betting challenge, which sought to block a planned launch later in the week.
The tribe had asked the court to halt implementation of HB 2772, which last month brought the allocation of 18 sports betting licenses to ten of the state’s 22 tribes and eight sports organisations. Sports betting is set to debut on September 9, 2021.
The Yavapai Prescott tribe claimed that the legislation is unconstitutional, and added that they will be unfairly disadvantaged by the expansion and new wagering opportunities authorised by the law and amended compacts.
These compacts permitted tribes to expand the gaming offerings at their casinos to include table games such as roulette, baccarat and craps, in exchange for support for HB 2772 which enables the offering of mobile sports betting off reservations, as well as the debut of sportsbook in stadia and sports venues.
Sands China stated that the unpredictable nature of tightened border restrictions in Macau, and subsequent drop in visitation numbers, continues to hinder the group’s financial performance.
Despite asserting that the group’s “offerings from customers who have been able to visit remains robust,” the casino operator says that the adverse impact will continue “until the COVID-19 pandemic is contained”.
The comments came as the group issued an update to outline the pandemic’s ongoing impact upon its operations, primarily citing performance through July and August where “tighter border restrictions were implemented in Macao affecting visitation to our properties”.
Net revenue for the group through July and August came in at US$265m and US$148m compared to US$43m and US$53m a year earlier, an operating loss of US$25m and US$83m contrasted to US$141m and US$148m, and net loss of US$63m and US$125m as opposed to US$165m and US$175m, respectively.
The American Gaming Association revealed that a record 45.2m Americans (18 per cent) plan to wager on the 2021 National Football League, which would represent a 36 per cent uptick from the past season.
Although wagering on the sport is expected to be up across all methods, betting with online sportsbooks is expected to see the largest increase over 2020, while illegal bookies are expected to see the slowest growth.
The AGA projects that 21.7m American adults will bet on the 2021 NFL season casually with friends, which would be up 31 per cent from 2020, with 19.5m to place a bet online (legal and illegal), up 73 per cent.
Furthermore, 10.5m, up 58 per cent, will place a bet at a physical casino sportsbook, with 6.7m, up 13 per cent, to place a bet with a bookie, and 14.6m will participate in a paid fantasy contest or other type of pool competition, which is up 69 per cent.