Gambling group William Hill has agreed a tie-up with US casino giant Eldorado in its boldest move yet to tap into the liberalised American market.
William Hill said the deal will give it access to “one of the largest and most attractive” casino chains, with Eldorado boasting 23 million customers across the US.
Nasdaq-listed Eldorado currently has 21 properties across 11 states, but is close to completing a deal to snap up another 26 properties in 13 states through a takeover of Tropicana Entertainment.
William Hill, which has already partnered with Eldorado in Nevada since 2012, will become Eldorado’s exclusive partner for digital and land-based sports betting, as well as online gaming.
Under the terms of the deal, Eldorado will receive 50 million US dollars (£39 million) in William Hill shares – subject to a lock-in period of up to five years – and a 20% stake in William Hill’s US operation.
It marks the most significant US move for William Hill since the sports betting sector was legalised in America earlier this year.
A Supreme Court ruling in May paved the way for states to legalise sports gambling.
William Hill chief executive Philip Bowcock said: “This partnership provides extensive cross-sell and profit growth opportunities to both parties.
“Together, we are positioned to capture the evolving US opportunity – starting with land-based sports betting and extending to digital sports betting and, in some states, online gaming.”
Gary Carano, chairman and chief executive of Eldorado, said: “Having worked with the company since 2012, we believe William Hill represents the gold standard in global sports betting and we are confident that our expanded partnership will be successful.”
Since the US sports betting sector began to be liberalised, William Hill claims to have achieved the widest footprint of any sports betting operator in the US.
William Hill US has assets worth 68.5 million US dollars (£53.4 million) and made underlying earnings of 28.5 million US dollars (£22.2 million) last year.
British gambling groups have been turning to the US in force since the liberalisation of sports betting and as a way to offset the recent blow from a UK government crackdown on fixed odds betting terminals.
Ladbrokes owner GVC recently announced a similar joint venture with Las Vegas-based casino group MGM.