William Hill operates the most retail sportsbooks in New Jersey but the brand may soon disappear and be replaced by one of the most recognizable names in gambling.
Caesars Entertainment completed its $3.7 billion purchase of William Hill in late-April.
Not long after, Caesars CEO Tom Reeg said the company plans to phase out the William Hill name in the United States. The Caesars Sports app will replace WH, while only a handful of yet-to-be-identified retail sportsbooks will keep the current name.
Five William Hill Sportsbooks in NJ
In New Jersey, William Hill Sportsbooks are currently located in four Atlantic City casinos and at Monmouth Park Racetrack.
Three of the four AC casinos with WH sportsbooks — Caesars, Harrah’s Resort, and Tropicana — are operated by Caesars Entertainment. Ocean Casino Resort also has a WH-branded sportsbook.
NJ has a total of 12 retail sportsbooks (nine Atlantic City casinos and three licensed racetracks) and 19 mobile/online options.
William Hill has a mobile sportsbook and online casino in New Jersey. The mobile sportsbook reports revenue under the casino licenses of both Ocean and Tropicana. The online casino revenue is included in Tropicana’s monthly reports.
Caesars Casino & Sports is already live in NJ.
What will happen at Ocean Casino, Monmouth Park?
As of now, the future of the two William Hill Sportsbooks operating at non-Caesars properties in NJ is uncertain.
The situation is muddled, partly, because of how the Caesars/William Hill deal went through the regulatory process in NJ.
The multi-billion dollar deal was approved via transactional waiver by the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement. The DGE approval does not include any recommendations or requirements to Caesars Entertainment as it pertains to the sportsbook inside Ocean.
Had the deal gone before the NJ Casino Control Commission, a public vote and the potential for market concentration would have been considered. Caesars now controls 45% of the retail books in AC, including one in a competitor’s casino.
As for the book at Monmouth Park, the DGE noted it has oversight of sports betting operations in NJ but the state Racing Commission should also be notified.
BetMGM paving the way for Caesars
Rebranding William Hill Sportsbooks under the Caesars name is a calculated business decision, according to Reeg.
The company recognizes the success that gaming rival MGM Resorts International has with its BetMGM brand in certain markets.
In Michigan, for example, BetMGM was the second-highest-grossing sportsbook and best performing online casino in March.
During a recent quarterly earnings call, Reeg showed his hand.
He expressed confidence that legacy brands, such as Caesars and MGM, could challenge the likes of DraftKings and FanDuel for sports betting market share.
“If you look at what our friends at MGM Michigan, in the quarter where they came from a position similar to where William Hill was to a leadership position in a market where they had a large database, that gives us a lot of confidence as we move forward,” he said.
AP Photo/Wayne Parry