Caesars Entertainment recently completed the waiting period for the antitrust review of the operator’s planned acquisition of the William Hill bookmaker. This is the latest milestone passed by Caesars and it is hoped that the $3.7 billion deal could be closed as soon as March 2021.
The antitrust waiting period refers to the time when authorities get to look at whether a proposed merger would fall foul of anti-competition laws. The waiting period has been in operation since 1976, and it is one of the main stumbling blocks that Caesars has had to overcome to complete its purchase of the famous UK bookmaker.
The good news for Caesars was boosted when it was revealed that both the West Virginia Lottery and the Mississippi Gaming Commission had approved the merger. Caesars and William Hill already have a deep connection by running a shared sport betting venture in the US. This currently gives Caesars 20% equity ownership compared to 80% for William Hill.
William Hill already has sportsbook operations at a dozen of Caesar’s physical gambling establishments in New Jersey, Nevada and Iowa. Plus with the Caesars Sports Book by William Hill betting app being launched in the coming months in states like Indiana and Pennsylvania, it looks like there is little stopping the merging of these famous gambling brands.
The $3.7 billion takeover was agreed in late September. This saw the board of Caesars and William Hill agreeing to a cash offer for the share price that was agreed upon by the shareholders of the UK sportsbook on November 19.
William Hill has been hard at work in stepping up its US operations with 170 sportsbook outlets in 13 separate states. With the impending deal being given the green light by anti-trust authorities, it looks like William Hill is set to make a big impact in the US.
More Hurdles to Overcome for the Caesars and William Hill Merger
While the passing of the antitrust time period is an important milestone, there are many more challenges in place before the acquisition can occur. These include the fact that the independent gaming commissions of many independent US states have to approve the impending merger.
As a result, the acquisition will have to get passed by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, the Nevada Gaming Commission, the Nevada Gaming Control Board and the Indiana Gaming Commission.
It’s also important to note that the merger will have to get the final approval of the English High Court. The fate of the famous UK bookmaker will be of deep interest, especially as Caesars has made it clear that it will have to find different owners for William Hill’s non-US operations.
It comes amid a backdrop of huge change in the online gambling industry in the US. With ongoing deregulation in many states, several key players are joining forces to take a share of the hugely lucrative market. If the deal between Caesars and William Hill goes ahead, it will create the first true giant of legal US gambling.