William Hill’s Strip sportsbook presence grows through CG purchase, Caesars transition Howard Stutz, CDC Gaming Reports · August 13, 2020 at 7:32 am Prior to this July, William Hill US – one of the nation’s largest sports betting operators, with retail and mobile operations in 10 states and Washington D.C. – managed the sportsbooks for just two casinos on the Las Vegas Strip, Circus Circus and Sahara, both at the boulevard’s north end. That number will increase more than tenfold – and gain a much wider geographic footprint – in time for the anticipated start of the National Football League season. Nevada gaming regulators gave William Hill preliminary approval Wednesday to take over the sportsbook operations at six casinos on or near the Strip that are currently managed by rival CG Technologies. The Las Vegas-based company announced last November it was acquiring the assets of CG for an undisclosed price, and with the deal came the management contracts. Meanwhile, William Hill is in the process of assuming operations of 11 further Nevada sportsbooks – including nine located on or near the Strip – that were managed by the former Caesars Entertainment. The company, still known as Caesars, was acquired in a $17.3 billion merger last month by Eldorado Resorts, which has a partnership with the sportsbook operator. During a hearing with the Nevada Gaming Control Board conducted over a virtual platform, William Hill CEO Joe Asher said the transition with CG Technologies will be seamless to sports betting customers. Uncashed CG betting tickets will be honored by William Hill, CG mobile sports betting customers will be transitioned to the William Hill mobile app, and CG’s employees will become William Hill employees. An outside view of the William Hill Race & Sports Book at the Plaza Hotel & Casino on November 08, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Bryan Steffy/Getty Images for William Hill U.S.) Through both the CG and Caesars deals, Asher said in an interview William Hill is adding “several hundred employees,” which includes workers from CG’s corporate offices. Asher said the CG transaction will close upon approval of the Nevada Gaming Commission on Aug. 27 and gaming regulators in The Bahamas, where William Hill will provide a betting platform and risk management consulting to the Atlantis on Paradise Island. “It’s a positive for CG to become part of William Hill,” said Control Board member Terry Johnson. CG had a checkered history in Nevada, paying a total of $9 million in fines after being disciplined by state gaming regulators three times since 2014. Through the acquisition, William Hill will take over the sports betting operations at Venetian Las Vegas, Palazzo, Tropicana Las Vegas, and Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas on the Strip, the off-Strip Palms Casino Resort, and the Silverton, which is located southwest of the Strip. Only one former CG sportsbook, at the former Hard Rock Las Vegas, is not included. That off-Strip property closed in February for remodeling that will transition the resort into Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. Mohegan Gaming will operate the casino and announced a deal last month with Betfred USA Sports to operate and the sportsbook. Asher expects to William Hill to eventually assume the operations of all the former CG properties, although both the Palms and Tropicana have yet to reopen since their shutdowns in mid-March as part of the statewide gaming industry closure due to the coronavirus pandemic. Asher told the Control Board the sportsbooks will be branded at William Hill US books. Last year, William Hill took over the sportsbook at M Resort in Henderson when CG’s contract expired. William Hill is the process of transitioning the management of the Caesars Entertainment sportsbooks, including Caesars Palace and Harrah’s Las Vegas. In Las Vegas, both the Linq and Paris Las Vegas sportsbooks are now under the William Hill brand. In 2019, the former Eldorado gained a 20% ownership stake in William Hill US in exchange for a 25-year deal for William Hill to operate sports betting in the company’s casinos in Nevada and regional markets. William Hill also manages the sports betting operations for five downtown Las Vegas resorts: The Strat, Downtown Grand, Binion’s, Plaza, and Four Queens. Asher was managing director of CG, then known as Cantor Gaming, when the company came to Nevada in the mid-2000s. Cantor Gaming was the sports betting affiliate branch of financial firm Cantor Fitzgerald. He left Cantor Gaming in 2007 to form his own sportsbook management firm, Brandywine Bookmaking, which quickly grew into a network of 16 race and sportsbooks throughout Las Vegas under the Lucky’s Race and Sports brand name. Cantor filed suit in Clark County District Court against Asher in 2011 amid his deal to sell Brandywine to UK bookmaker William Hill for $15.7 million. Asher subsequently remained as CEO of the U.S. operation. In 2017, a Nevada jury found that Asher didn’t breach the terms of his non-compete agreement with Cantor. William Hill currently operates more than 120 race and sportsbooks in Nevada through both retail locations and wagering kiosks, as well as a mobile sports wagering app. The company also operates retail sportsbooks in New Jersey, Indiana, West Virginia, Illinois, Colorado, and Iowa, and online in Iowa. William Hill is a licensed sports betting provider in numerous casinos in Mississippi and New Mexico and serves as the exclusive risk manager for the Delaware and Rhode Island sports lotteries. William Hill is also in the process of opening a sportsbook at the Capitol One Arena in Washington D.C. Earlier this month, the company opened betting windows at the ticket office. “We had quite a line down the block,” Asher told the Control Board. Howard Stutz is the executive editor of CDC Gaming Reports. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.