William Hill Reign In Iowa Could Be Ending As Caesars Acquisition Takes Effect

Written By Russ Mitchell on May 6, 2021 - Last Updated on December 6, 2022
william hill caesars deal

Iowa’s market-leading sportsbook operator could have a new name as part of a national rebranding process announced Tuesday.

Caesars Entertainment plans to rebrand its recently acquired William Hill Sportsbook. The sports betting app could be known as Caesars Sports in many areas of the US this fall.

Caesars Entertainment CEO Tom Reeg announced the change at Tuesday’s quarterly earnings call to investors:

“We expect that to happen for football season. We’re going to rebrand our books as Caesars, our app as Caesars Sports and tie our business into our Caesars Rewards database.”

Kate Whiteley, Caesars vice president of corporate communications and production, said Reeg’s announcement might need some nuance. State “regulations and situations vary so widely,” she explained.

“While our mobile app and most sportsbooks will be rebranded to reflect that they are now a part of Caesars Entertainment, the William Hill brand will continue to be featured in both mobile and retail sportsbooks, depending on the state.”

In general, Iowans should look for a new app and ramped up marketing as Caesars Entertainment rebrands the sportsbook in the US.

On-site registrations helped William Hill lead Iowa

Caesars Entertainment closed out its acquisition of the mostly UK-based operator on April 22. The companies reached the $3.7 billion agreement in September.

Reeg told investors that William Hill was “fighting with an arm behind their back,” during the 2020 football season because of regulatory limbo. Caesars plans to invest “considerably more” to expand its share of the sports betting market.

What we needed to do, to move forward, really, was to take control of our destiny by buying William Hill, and to come up with the capital to invest appropriately in the business.

William Hill Sportsbook at Prairie Meadows Casino in Altoona.

Through Caesars, William Hill enjoyed Iowa’s largest brick-and-mortar presence with six Iowa casinos:

  • Prairie Meadows, Altoona
  • Horseshoe Casino, Council Bluffs
  • Isle Casino Hotel, Waterloo
  • Isle of Capri, Bettendorf
  • Lakeside, Osceola
  • Harrah’s, Council Bluffs

The location inventory helped William Hill’s sportsbook lead after sports wagering became legal in Iowa.

Sportsbook customers initially had to visit an Iowa casino for the registration process. Starting this year, online registration and could take place anywhere in Iowa using a personal computer or mobile device.

Out of the 11 Iowa sportsbooks, William Hill had the biggest share of a sports betting handle in March, with $49.5 million and 31% of the monthly handle.

Partnerships, pandemic’s wane leave Caesars CEO optimistic

Caesars worked on securing the capital investment as William Hill worked to get the Liberty transaction platform into Caesars’ jurisdictions.

Eventually, Reeg hopes a single wallet will cover transactions for William Hill and Caesars Sports customers. The single wallet platform likely won’t be completed in time for the first wave of football betting.

He added:

“We’ve got a great hand to play, and I have tremendous confidence in our ability to operate and be a leader here.”

Caesars Entertainment extended and expanded its partnership with the NFL. Reeg also told investors the William Hill acquisition allows Caesars to be a “one-stop shop” for bettors.

I think the demand for entertainment and just fun, after the last 12 to 14 months, is going to be like nothing any of us have seen in our lifetime.”

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Russ Mitchell

Russ Mitchell has been covering news and sports in northwest Iowa since 1997, including 11 years as managing editor for one of the most acclaimed community newspapers in the state. He looks forward to keeping readers up to date on the growing sportsbook industry in Iowa.

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