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This Week in Gambling: The battle of US sports betting supremacy

1 Oct 2020

The war for U.S. sports betting domination has begun, and with over $150 billion in annual revenue up for grabs, the stakes are high. This week, the first shots were fired in what is sure to be a long and hard fought battle.

Caesars Entertainment is in talks to buy William Hill in a deal that would value the British bookmaker at $3.7 billion and underscore the size of the opportunity in online gaming and U.S. sports betting.

The companies said that the casino operator could offer $3.45 per William Hill share, an 81% premium to the stock's average price over the three months to 24 September. The deal would give Caesars control of their U.S. joint venture. William Hill says it has a 32% share of revenue in the Nevada sports betting market, and it is rapidly expanding into other states.

Sports betting was already booming in the United States before the pandemic hit, after the US Supreme Court in 2018 cleared the way for it to be legalized in states outside Nevada. While lockdowns severely disrupted large sports events, the months long shutdown of casinos helped boost demand for online gambling, buoying stocks such as DraftKings and Flutter Entertainment. Las Vegas casinos reopened in June.

The American Gaming Association expects nearly 35 million people to bet on the NFL this season.

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