888, one of the top gambling operators in the world, is entering a deal with Caesars Entertainment to purchase William Hill’s non-US properties for £2.2 billion ($3 billion USD). It’s a move that will greatly expand 888’s UK footprint and will put a nice chunk of change into the coffers of Caesars, as they focus on dominating the rapidly growing regulated US sports betting market.
Under the terms of the deal, 888 will take possession of 1,400 high street shops. This is 888’s first foray into the world of land-based wagering, and represents a potentially seismic shift in the UK gambling ecosystem.
Officials at 888 emphasized the fact that they are not planning to offload the properties, but rather will make them part of their ongoing business. 888 CEO Itai Pazner affirmed this idea in a statement reported on by Reuters News Agency saying, “Our plans are absolutely to keep the shops. The shops are run well, they are profitable, they went through a big transformation in the last couple of years.”
Caesars picked up the William Hill properties when it purchased the company that had been running sports betting operations at its US properties. The company paid about £2.9 billion ($3 billion USD) for the whole of William Hill, so it’s already seen a nice profit on the deal.
Caesars CEO Tom Reeg praised the deal saying, “We have found an owner for the William Hill business outside the U.S. which shares the same objectives, approaches and longer-term ambitions of that business.”
All told, the deal is great news for Caesars and 888 alike. Caesars gets to pocket $3 billion and 888 just got a whole lot more competitive in the UK gaming market.