Companies with sportsbooks eyeing potential US market

Sports Betting Truce: William Hill Backs Off Opposition To Scientific Games’ Acquisition Of NYX

William Hill backs off NYX

Some messiness in the sports betting industry got resolved this week, as William Hill gave its blessing for Scientific Games‘ acquisition of NYX Gaming.

More on Will Hill, Scientific Games and NYX

NYX announced Wednesday that William Hill had “entered into independent agreements to support the previously announced acquisition of NYX by Scientific Games for CAD $2.40 per ordinary share.”

That announcement ends an attempt by William Hill to stop the acquisition from moving forward, as the companies “have agreed to end all existing litigation among the parties,” per NYX. Will Hill had threatened to slow the deal via its status as a shareholder in NYX.

Scientific Games also announced that it has entered into a new commercial arrangement with William Hill. Details on that agreement were not immediately available, although this came from the Will Hill side of things, per the Associated Press:

“We are pleased to expand our commercial relationship with Scientific Games in the U.S. market, which offers considerable potential should the Supreme Court ruling … which is expected next year, provide states with the power to regulate sports betting,” said William Hill CEO Philip Bowcock.

The gaming companies turn their eyes to US sports betting

As the quote from Bowcock alludes to, all three of the companies above have their sights firmly set on the potential US market for sports betting.

This week saw oral arguments in Christie vs. NCAA, the US Supreme Court case about the federal sports betting ban. There were very real signs that the nation’s highest court was going to strike down that federal ban — PASPA — with a ruling coming in 2018.

The NYX acquisition was clearly done with the US market opening up in mind. William Hill already has a US arm in Nevada, and is ready to roll out sports wagering at Monmouth Park in New Jersey, with the right ruling in Christie.

If a legal sports betting market in the US becomes a reality, there’s definitely room for all these companies to profit.

Bowcock alluded to the future for largely European-centric sportsbook operators in a trading update last month:

“Separately, we look forward to the US Supreme Court’s hearing on PASPA on 4 December and its decision next year. As the largest operator of sports books in Nevada and with our 80-plus year heritage in the UK, we are actively engaged in helping sports bodies, regulators and other interested parties to understand the benefits of having a licensed and well-regulated US betting industry.

Dustin Gouker
- Dustin Gouker has been a sports journalist for more than 15 years, working as a reporter, editor and designer -- including stops at The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner.