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Pulse


US SPORTS BETTING JOE ASHER INTERVIEW


third-party properties, but that’ll be up for Caesars to decide going forwards.


“Right at the beginning of COVID-19, I appeared on Fox Business Network’s Varney & Co., a popular morning business show hosted by Stuart Varney, who happens to be British. It was back in the bleakest days of the pandemic when everything was shutting down and no-one knew what was happening.


“I said to him that ‘William Hill has been around longer than we’ve been alive, and it’ll be around long after we’re dead.’ Tat was my view for the future of the brand, and I stand by it now. It has a great heritage in the UK going back to the individual himself. Te company has had different owners over time, and this is just one more ownership change.”


Alongside Caesars' intention to sell off William Hill's retail locations in the UK, MGM's recent approach for Entain would also likely see the Ladbrokes, Coral and Gala brands and retail locations put in jeopardy.


Last month, Caesars’ chief executive announced that the operator will begin the process of selling William Hill’s non-US assets in the next two months, with the aim of finding a buyer in 2021 and closing the deal within a year. Joe disagrees with the view that an institution such as William Hill, a business founded in 1934, being picked apart for its value in the US market, is little more than asset stripping.


“I don’t see it [asset stripping] that way. I see it like this – you have retail and you have online. Tere is a lot of growth online and I happen to be a very passionate believer in retail. Retail is not going away – people have been talking about its demise ever since I started paying attention to the business.


“Caesars has been very clear that they are a US- focused company and are not necessarily the best owners of a business that is located in the UK. Tey have stated they intend to sell that business, but I don’t see that as an asset stripping or a negative. I think it just reflects the desire of this particular owner.”


“You have retail and you have online. There is a lot of growth online and I happen to be a very passionate believer in retail. Retail is not going away – people have been talking about its demise ever since I started paying attention to the business. Caesars has been very clear that they are a US-focused company and are not necessarily the best owners of a business that is located in the UK. They have stated they intend to sell that business, but I don’t see that as an asset stripping or a negative. I think it just reflects the desire of this particular owner.”


P96 WIRE / PULSE / INSIGHT / REPORTS


AN M&A FLURRY


Sportsbooks are massively growing in influence in casinos and stadiums as operators turn their attentions to online sportsbooks. Las Vegas Sands is selling its properties and will be in a previously unfathomable position of not owning any of its businesses in Las Vegas. I ask Joe what is facilitating this change and what is says about the competitive nature of the Las Vegas Strip.


“On Las Vegas Sands, let’s put it into context. Las Vegas Sands own what is commonly thought of as two properties in Las Vegas: Te Venetian and Te Palazzo. As a technical matter, they are actually one property for gaming licensing purposes because they are connected. Tey [Las Vegas Sands] clearly got an offer that they thought was compelling and decided to accept.


“Te Strip is often underestimated for how competitive it actually is. Tere is a lot of capital that’s required to be continuously invested - you can build a property but then you have to maintain and upgrade it. I recently read that Wynn is doing a $200m room renovation and Resorts World is opening next month, adding another 5,000 hotel rooms to the Strip.


“Las Vegas Sands decided the offer was too good to pass up for the shareholders. Te bulk of their business is in Asia between Macau and Singapore, and it’s been widely reported they are pursuing other opportunities in the US. I don’t know whether it necessarily harkens to anything other than the facts and circumstances of the case.


“On the flip side, when you’ve got an incredibly sophisticated outfit like Apollo spending a lot of


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