William Hill takeover of CG Technology approved

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The Nevada Gaming Commission Thursday approved William Hill running the sportsbooks operated by CG Technology and received reassurances the move isn’t anti-competitive for bettors.

William Hill will take over six casino sportsbooks operated by CG Technology — The Cosmopolitan, Palms, Silverton, Tropicana, The Venetian and Palazzo. The Palms and Tropicana remain closed.

William Hill has operated 113 race and sports books across Nevada and is adding 11 Caesars sportsbooks in Nevada as part of Eldorado Resorts merger with Caesars  Entertainment.

William Hill attorney Scott Scherer of the firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck answered the competition question during a discussion, and the board didn’t raise any objections afterward.

 “There are two primary issues,” Scherer said on why the takeover is not anti-competitive. “Operations that are being transferred by this application are only in the Las Vegas Strip area, and that is the area where William Hill has historically had the smallest market share. They are adding market share on the Las Vegas Strip but not in other areas where they have significant market share already.

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“Secondly, race and sports has become a statewide market. Over 70 percent of the wagering handle is placed through mobile applications. You have to make an initial appearance at a sportsbook but once you’ve done so, you can bet from anywhere in the state. The lines and odds are essentially the same regardless wherever you are in the state. William Hill has operations all over the state.”

A deal was announced in November for United Kingdom-based William Hill to acquire the assets of Las Vegas-based CG Technology as well as those in The Bahamas. William Hill received approval in The Bahamas earlier this week.

William Hill US CEO Joe Asher told the commission that the transaction gives William Hill a handful of sportsbooks on the Las Vegas Strip. It doesn’t increase the market share on a statewide basis, he said.

“It gives us a couple of properties we’re really excited about like the Venetian, Palazzo and Cosmopolitan,” Asher said. 

The switchover to William Hill is expected by Sept. 1 and all open bets will be honored by William Hill after that point.

Asher said they like the design of The Cosmopolitan sportsbook. There have been discussions with the Las Vegas Sands about refurbishing the sportsbook at the Venetian. They may also redo the Silverton to make it more efficient, he said.

William Hill won’t take over CG’s operation at the former Hard Rock Hotel that’s being renovated and reopened as Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. Betfred USA Sports has been selected to operate that. CG Technology will continue to honor those bets made at the former Hard Rock.

About the Author

Buck Wargo

Buck Wargo is a former journalist with the Los Angeles Times and has been based in Las Vegas as a business, real estate and gaming reporter since 2005.

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