PlayUSA Rewind: Caesars Agrees To Massive Takeover Of William Hill

Posted By Grant Lucas on October 6, 2020 - Last Updated on March 15, 2021

The NFL has long been and will long be the center of the legalized sports betting universe. Even in a year with special scheduling (the NBA Finals in October, the Masters in November, etc.), the NFL still captures the spotlight.

This past week, though, the sports betting stage was set for massive deals, big revenue reports and an offshore operator looking to do right.

The latter topic is a lesson that by no means comes free, but more on that in a minute.

On to the Rewind:

Caesars agrees to purchase William Hill

Famed international legalized sports betting provider William Hill has new ownership.

Caesars has agreed to purchase the bookmaker for a whopping $3.7 billion in cash, a deal that is expected to close in the second half of 2021.

The two parties already share a US sports betting partnership, of course. This acquisition, though, allows Caesars to help the partnership reach its maximum potential. The combined sports betting and iGaming vertical could generate up to $700 million in pro forma net revenue in the 2021 fiscal year.

To boot, Caesars could make a run at William Hill’s international assets, such as its gaming business overseas.

Naturally, Caesars can create a shared wallet for its sports betting and online casino customers while cross-selling its rewards program to 60 million customers. On top of it all, it gives Caesars access to markets it didn’t otherwise have.

5Dimes reaches illegal gambling operations settlement

It appears 5Dimes is ready to walk the straight and narrow. But it certainly cost the company a few bucks.

An investigation into illegal US sports betting operations, money laundering and wire fraud led 5Dimes to reach$46.8 million settlement with the US Department of Justice.

As part of a settlement with the US Attorney’s Office Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 5D Holdings and owner Laura Varela — widow of Sean “Tony” Creighton, who was found dead in Costa Rica after he was kidnapped and murdered in September 2018 — will forfeit the illegally obtained gambling proceeds via 5Dimes’ offshore operations in Costa Rica.

According to a lengthy list of criminal activities laid out in the settlement, 5Dimes began accepting wagers and making payouts in 2011 and transferred nearly $47 million in proceeds “to attempt to hide the nature, location, source and control of the funds.”

The company has made known its intention to enter the regulated US sports betting market once this investigation came to an end. No doubt, though, state regulators might hesitate to provide it an entrance.

That said, 5Dimes has already incorporated 5D Americas LLC in Delaware, allowing Varela the “use of her assets or the assets of the 5Dimes brand to explore future options, including, but not limited to, reconstituting the 5Dimes brand to be licensed to conduct legal, regulated gaming activities in the US and internationally.”

According to Jeff Ifrah, Varela’s attorney, 5Dimes will now attempt to gain a legal operating license in New Jersey.

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Post-PASPA betting revenue is now over $25 billion

Just over two years have passed since the US Supreme Court repealed the Professional and Sports Protection Act. Since then, legalized sports betting has boomed.

How much? Well, thanks to the latest report from Nevada, bettors in America have wagered more than $25 billion since PASPA fell in May 2018.

For decades, Nevada has been the only state in which bettors could legally place wagers in the United States. Now, with $475 million wagered there in August, the Silver State has pushed the regulated US total handle past the $25 billion mark.

While New Jersey took over as the legal sports betting king in August, Nevada has driven the post-PASPA totals. Since the act went down in spring 2018, Nevada sports bettors have wagered over $10 billion, generating more than $600 million in revenue. This is in comparison with New Jersey’s totals of $7.7 billion in handle and $532 million in revenue.

Only two other states have exceeded $1 billion in post-PASPA handle: Pennsylvania, with $2.7 billion, and Indiana, with over $1 billion.

Photo by Tupungato / Dreamstime
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Grant Lucas

Grant Lucas is a longtime sports writer who has covered the high school, collegiate and professional levels. A graduate of Linfield College in McMinnville, Grant has covered games and written features and columns surrounding prep sports, Linfield and Oregon State athletics, the Portland Trail Blazers and golf throughout his career.

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