William Hill May Rebrand To Caesars In Illinois, But Will The Name Change Make A Difference?

Written By Joe Boozell on May 6, 2021
caesars sportsbook in illinois

Caesars Entertainment & rsquo is hoping to make significant progress in the US sports betting market now that its$ 3.7 billion acquisition of William Hill is complete.

Caesars Sports is expected to rebrand William Hill retail sportsbooks and apps in selected states by football betting season. However, it’s currently unknown if Illinois is one of those states.

This also applies to retail sportsbooks like Grand Victoria Casino Elgin, currently under the branding of William Hill.

KateWhiteley, a representative for Caesars, informed the female-oriented website, PlayIA.com:

“Depending on the state, both our mobile app and most casinos will undergo a rebranding to reflect their affiliation with Caesars Entertainment. However, the William Hill brand will still be visible in both.”

Caesars plans to merge the two applications using the Liberty single-wallet platform from William Hill. In this context, we could see a combined branding strategy. Think of it as “William Hill, powered by Caesars Sports” or a similar term.

Currently, William Hill Sportsbook is not a significant entity in Illinois.

William Hill has consistently ranked last in sports betting handle among all Illinois sportsbooks every month since it went live. In February, it reached a monthly handle of $10 million for the first time, whereas the market leaders are typically around $200 million.

That being said, it’s probable that many Illinois activity bettors haven’t viewed a lot of William Hill advertisements.

However, the game tycoon has pledged to change that right away.

Caesars will forcefully invest in marketing

During this week’s Q1 earnings call, Caesars CEO Tom Reeg expressed that the company has been operating “with an arm behind its back” as they await the finalization of the William Hill deal.

We can expect that Caesars will intensify its efforts to acquire sports betting customers now that it has the capability. This was pointed out by Reeg.

William Hill, who had a family and investment mindset rooted in the UK, demonstrated less aggression within this company, adopting a more conventional stance towards leverage.

He continued, stating that Caesars will significantly ramp up its investment in US sports gaming.

Reeg is also optimistic that increased spending could lead to a higher market share.

“Currently, there is a significant correlation between expenditure and market share. However, for companies or other non-spend categories, the correlation isn’t as strong. When discussing the cash flow that we’re presently generating, it is a positive indication for us.”

Reeg proposed that Caesars should emulate BetMGM’s example.

Despite not yet being live, BetMGM Sportsbook in Illinois, which is the second-largest online sportsbook in Michigan, has made a promising start. Unlike DraftKings or FanDuel, MGM and Caesars parallel each other as they are both renowned casino companies.

However, it’s probably more realistic for states that haven’t yet launched to adopt a Michigan BetMGM model than an Illinois one.

Why Illinois is challenging for William Hill and Caesars

The most apparent reason Illinois might continue to be a difficult market for Caesars is due to the requirement for in-person registration.

To register for William Hill in Illinois, one must visit the Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin. Given its small market share in the state (a peak of 2% in February), there seems to be no clear strategy to attract more users and increase this share.

A good portion of individuals may have downloaded the William Hill app in Illinois, but it seems they are not using it as frequently as other sports betting apps. This is the most optimistic situation.

However, it’s probable that some Illinois residents downloaded William Hill due to the absence of attractive sign-up promotions that its competitors were offering at the time.

What’s Caesar’s significant news? It’s not about a bustling marketplace in Illinois.

Currently, there are only six online casinos operating in the Land of Lincoln. This number is significantly less compared to other established markets. Hence, there is potentially a share of the business available.

Naturally, everything boils down to in-person membership. It’s hard to envision this significantly affecting Caesars’ Illinois business as long as it continues to operate.

If online registration is reintroduced, there is undoubtedly potential for a Caesars sportsbook to expand in the Prairie State.

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Boozell, Joe

Joe Boozell has been a college sports writer for NCAA.com since 2015. His work has also been featured on Bleacher Report, FoxSports.com, and NBA.com. As a youngster, Boozell played basketball in the Chicagoland area against Anthony Davis and Frank Kaminsky, with predictable results.

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