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888 Acquiring Non-US William Hill for $3 Billion
- October 21, 2021 By Riley Wilson -
The 888 Holdings, primarily known for its 888Casino brand and its 888sport betting offshoot, will purchase William Hill’s operations outside the US. This is easily one of the biggest acquisitions in online gambling history, and it means the 888 brand will finally be moving into brick-and-mortar gambling.
888 Takes Physical Gamling in Strides
This move is noteworthy for several reasons. On one hand, William Hill is an “old guard” gambling company with almost a century in the business. Primarily focused on its chain of high-street UK sports betting shops, it’s an immensely respected brand with thousands of devoted customers.
Conversely, 888Casino is a great example of the rapid rise of online gambling. Its operations have remained strictly online for the 20 years the company has been active. Currently, the 888 brand is easily one of the biggest names in the online gambling industry. Moreover, the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 outbreak have globally spurred internet gambling to new heights.
This will be the first time an online-only gambling operator is opening its doors in shops across the UK in such an explosive manner.
What Does This Mean for William Hill Customers?
William Hill has also been online since 1997, which means the new owners will be taking over a robust pre-existing infrastructure. If you’re a fan of William Hill’s land-based shops, you have little to fear.
While there were speculations about 888’s intention to get rid of the physical shops, CEO Itai Pazner was quick to dispel such allegations:
“Our plans are absolutely to keep the shops. The shops are run well, they are profitable, they went through a big transformation in the last couple of years.”
Whether the online side of the William Hill business will be affected, however, remains to be seen. It’s clear that it will remain a separate brand despite the new ownership. Some customers are concerned that the new owners will try to funnel customers into the 888Casino site, for example, but we’ve seen no real cause for concern so far.
As for the US-based part of William Hill, it remains owned by Caesars. This part of the operation now awaits new sports betting legislation in the US and likely a subsequent expansion of the business in the NA market.