Earlier this week, William Hill announced that they’d be closing an incredible 700 total shops across the UK. This may come as a bit of a surprise considering that William Hill is the largest sportsbook in England, but this is in direct response to recent law changes regarding betting limits at fixed-odd terminals. There was a rising concern that these betting terminals were extremely predatory, allowing and encouraging players to lose large amounts of money in a short timespan.
The new maximum stake a bettor can place is just £2, while it was previously £100. This huge reduction drastically reduces the revenue William Hill can generate from their physical locations. They currently have more than 2,300 shops, meaning they plan to close just under a third of them. William Hill projects to lose up to £100 million in sales as a result of the new limits, which is prompting them to initiate store closures.
There is no doubt that William Hill is shrinking in the UK. While this is alarming, the sportsbook is also preparing to expand their presence in the U.S. William Hill is partnered with Eldorado Resorts, a company that generates more than $2 billion in annual revenue. Last month, Eldorado Resorts announced that they would be purchasing Caesars Entertainment.
This is extremely significant for William Hill and will massively benefit them. Through the language in their partnership, William Hill is the only sportsbook allowed to operate in Eldorado establishments. Because of this, William Hill will also operate in all Caesars Entertainment establishments.
To put things into perspective, Eldorado Resorts currently has 26 establishments, but Caesars Entertainment has over 50! It definitely hurts to lose £100 million pounds in sales, but the closure of 700 shops and the addition of Caesars Entertainment has William Hill in prime position to take advantage of U.S. sports betting.
MGM Resorts is also doing their best to make sure they can profit from U.S. sports betting. Last year, MGM invested $7 million into the Alliance of American Football (AAF), a venture that ultimately flopped before it could even begin. At this point, the AAF is filing for bankruptcy. However, MGM is doing their best to make sure they don’t leave empty-handed.
The AAF developed specialized technology to track players, a feature that was prominently displayed on the league’s app. MGM has their eyes on this technology, planning to acquire rights to it and securing it for future use. To do this, MGM Resorts agreed to lower their portion of the bankruptcy claim to just $5 million while also paying $125,000. This values the technology at just over $2.15 million.
This technology is absolutely worth the cost considering the potential it has. With live player tracking, you could potentially have real-time data so accurate that odds could be updated on a play-by-play basis, giving precise odds following certain game events. This would allow MGM to offer the best odds of any sportsbook in the country, a function worth well more than $2.15 million.
It is unclear what MGM plans to do with the technology right now. They are partnered with GVC Holdings with the intention of creating an interactive platform for sports betting, which might be a natural solution for the technology. Either way, MGM is also definitely banking on U.S. sports betting being a success.