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William Hill poised to purchase Nevada CG Technology sportsbooks

Updated August 13, 2020 - 8:43 am

Nevada’s largest sportsbook operator will get even bigger by the end of the month if the Nevada Gaming Commission approves a Wednesday recommendation from the state Gaming Control Board.

The board voted unanimously to recommend William Hill PLC and its subsidiaries take over sportsbooks operated by CG Technology at six Southern Nevada properties. The commission will have the final say Aug. 27.

Sports gambling is one of the growth industries in the gaming business despite a pause caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Most American sports were sidelined by the virus for 4½ months, but MLB, the NBA and the NHL are playing games, and there are now 18 states that have legalized some form of sports wagering.

William Hill US CEO Joe Asher said he is wary of the college football season being in jeopardy after three conferences said they would delay playing until spring.

William Hill US operates 113 race and sportsbooks in Nevada.

CG tickets to be honored

The company would honor any outstanding wagering tickets written by CG Technology after the takeover, and Asher told board members users of the CG mobile app customers would be moved to the William Hill app.

When the deal closes, William Hill will operate sportsbooks at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, The Venetian and Palazzo and the Silverton, and the Palms and the Tropicana, which are closed. CG also ran the sportsbook at the Hard Rock Hotel, which was closed, sold and will be rebranded as Virgin Hotels Las Vegas.

William Hill’s transaction with CG also turns over a betting platform and risk management consulting operation at the Atlantis on Paradise Island in the Bahamas.

“It’s been quite a long road that leads to the transaction that’s before you today, but here we are,” Asher said Wednesday.

William Hill announced in November that it was acquiring CG Technology’s assets in Nevada and in the Bahamas for an undisclosed price.

Past rivals

CG Technology — previously known as Cantor Gaming — arrived in Las Vegas in 2009 and was one of the biggest players in the market.

It was the first sportsbook operator to launch a mobile gaming app and pioneered in-play wagering. In 2014, it estimated it controlled more than 30 percent of the Nevada sports wagering business and processed over 50 percent of technology-based wagers.

But the company got into hot water with regulators, with four violations since 2014. The Nevada Gaming Commission fined the company $8.8 million between 2014 and 2018 for three regulatory violations, including the second-highest fine ever assessed, $5.5 million in 2014, when the company was known as Cantor G&W Holdings.

The company also was fined $12 million in 2016 for violations of anti-money laundering provisions of the Bank Secrecy Act by the U.S. Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.

Meanwhile, William Hill hit the ground running in the Nevada market. In 2012, it became the first European operator to be awarded a full gaming license in Nevada, formed William Hill US and acquired three Nevada sports-betting companies for about $49 million.

New start

Brendan Bussmann, director of government affairs for Global Market Advisors LLC said William Hill’s acquisition of CG Technology’s assets will be a fresh start.

“Today’s approval continues the transitions of the old Cantor assets over to William Hill that continues to expand their footprint including the ones recently acquired through the Caesars merger,” he said. “With the deal closure expected later this month, it will transfer over several sports betting assets that have been challenged for some time because of the past CG regulatory issues.”

Board members asked Asher about what improvements could be made at the books the company is acquiring.

“We’ve had very preliminary discussions with a couple of the properties about retrofitting the locations and spending capital to upgrade them,” he said.

Bussmann said that William Hill has a commitment to offer a “solid experience” to sports bettors and that sports betting will only continue to grow as sports return.

The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson. Las Vegas Sands operates The Venetian and Palazzo.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

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