Caesars-William Hill Buyout Could Delay The App’s Indiana Launch

Caesars is incorporating another large corporation into its portfolio.

The gaming giant is purchasing William Hill for $3.7 billion.

Assuming there are no complications, the deal is projected to close in the second half of 2021.

The UK-based sportsbook has been venturing into the US market for several years now.

In September, William Hill launched its online betting app in Colorado.

The company could have launched the sportsbook in Indiana last year, but it is taking its time with the rollout.

William Hill’s extended wait

To initiate the process of opening an online sportsbook in Indiana, one must first secure a temporary vendor license from the Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC).

Usually, a sportsbook will commence operations within a few months after obtaining its license.

BetMGM, for instance, initiated its operations in Indiana on Feb. 25, 2020. Given that it was granted its license on Jan. 13, the whole launching procedure took less than two months.

William Hill has disregarded that regular timeline.

The company obtained its license as far back as August 2019, but it has remained inactive since then.

William Hill, unlike some operators who favor exclusively online betting, enjoys participating in the retail sportsbook market.

William Hill operates the retail sportsbook at Tropicana Evansville in Indiana.

Caesars has recently taken over the Tropicana. Following its acquisition of William Hill, the casino’s retail book will now be under the same corporate umbrella.

William Hill delay?

Caesars is making significant strides in the gaming industry.

In July, the company underwent a $17 billion merger with Eldorado Resorts, through which they acquired Tropicana Evansville, Caesars.

However, as a condition of the merger, Caesars is required to sell three of its casinos in Indiana. The Tropicana is one of the properties that will be changing ownership.

This could potentially extend the waiting period for William Hill in Indiana.

The license for William Hill's mobile app is tied to the Tropicana, which opens up several possible outcomes.

The best-case scenario for a timely launch is Caesar’s sale of Tropicana to a company that is friendly with William Hill.

Things will continue without interruption if the new owner is willing to retain William Hill as one of its online partners.

However, if the new owner of the Tropicana doesn’t wish to collaborate with William Hill, then the sportsbook will have to start from scratch.

To partner with a different casino, a new license would be necessary. This essentially means starting from scratch on the launch process that William Hill has been progressing on since 2019.

Naturally, Caesars has the option to transfer William Hill’s license and associate it with one of its other properties in Indiana.

While it would essentially mean starting the process over, it’s likely the most probable outcome.

Should William Hill be linked to a Caesars property, all revenue would be retained in-house by Caesars rather than divided with another entity.

Given that we’re already more than a year into the launch process, it’s unlikely that William Hill is in any rush to start operations in Indiana.

Assuming that William Hill does decide to align itself with a different Caesars property, two strong contenders for the sportsbook’s new location could be Indiana Grand Casino and Harrah's Hoosier Park.

Caesars app Indiana

What implications does the William Hill agreement have for the Caesars Sportsbook app? As of now, it’s not completely clear.

Caesars’ online sportsbook was launched in Indiana back in May.

However, since its launch, it has had difficulty making progress in the state. In August, the sportsbook only managed to yield a handle of $340,000.

That mark was the second-worst across the whole state. Only BetAmerica sportsbook has worse figures.

Caesars, now in the process of acquiring William Hill, might ultimately choose to retire its initial online sportsbook app.

After all, William Hill is a well-known brand in the sportsbook industry. Given its specialization in sports betting, such a move could be logical for the company.

Even if Caesars’ sportsbook may cease to exist in the future, it does not signify the end of the Caesars app in Indiana.

Indiana hasn’t legalized online casinos yet, but it’s likely they will be introduced at some future point in the state.

Once they’re ultimately involved, Caesars will desire a share of the activity.

In other states where sportsbooks and online casinos are already operational, Caesars caters to a diverse clientele. With the acquisition of William Hill, Caesars aims to replicate this business model in Indiana.

No matter the fate of the original sportsbook app, Caesars will maintain a significant presence in Indiana for many years due to its connections with William Hill, online casinos, and its various retail properties across the state.

Photo by AP Newsroom
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Jake Garza

Jake Garza is a Gambling Industry Analyst in the US, working for Catena Media. His specialty lies in the coverage of Midwest sports betting and casino content. Before delving into the legal gambling scene, Garza honed his skills as a sports writer, covering teams like the Cincinnati Bengals, Indianapolis Colts, and Indiana Pacers. He now serves as a Managing Editor for Play Indiana and PlayOhio, having previously worked with other popular brands like PlayIllinois and PlayMichigan. Since 2019, Garza has been providing extensive coverage of the gambling industry. Currently, he collaborates with a team of journalists to offer in-depth coverage of the legal gambling sector in the U.S.

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