Sports betting companies settle legal battle over acquisition

ATLANTIC CITY — Three gambling companies have agreed to end their legal battle over the proposed acquisition of NYX Gaming by Scientific Games.

The Las Vegas-based companies hope to join forces and become a leader in the as-yet unapproved U.S. sports betting market.

But William Hill, a rival based in London, had threatened to derail the deal by using stock it owns in NYX.

On Thursday, the companies said they will end their complicated international litigation, adding that William Hill will now support the deal.

The companies anticipate the Supreme Court will legalize sports betting, creating a huge new market in the U.S. The case was heard on Monday, but a decision may take until June.

“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.

William Hill had threatened to use the stock it owns in NYX to vote against the acquisition unless it received assurances about what the newly combined company could and could not do.

But the deal calls for Scientific Games to buy William Hill’s stock. The two firms also announced they have entered “a new commercial arrangement” but did not spell out details of it.

New Jersey is taking aim at a 1992 law that forbids state-authorized sports gambling in all but four states that met a 1991 deadline to legalize it: Delaware, Montana, Nevada and Oregon. Nevada is the only state to allow single-game wagering.

In an October report, Eilers & Krejcik Gaming LLC, which tracks state-by-state gambling legislation, predicted legal sports betting could be offered in 32 states within five years if the Supreme Court rules in favor of New Jersey.

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