William Hill Back In PA, Running Sportsbook At Harrah’s

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William Hill is back in the Pennsylvania market, though not as an online competitor of other sports betting industry giants.

The international company’s Las Vegas-based U.S. operation announced Wednesday that it has taken over operation of the Harrah’s Philadelphia retail sportsbook.

Harrah’s opened the sportsbook at the racetrack-casino in Chester, Delaware County, in January 2019, the sixth such retail outlet in the state at the time. SG Digital was announced then as the sportsbook technology provider for a location that has 45 large-screen TVs, a bar, and seating by both lounge chairs and high-top tables. It has six ticket windows and 16 self-service betting kiosks.

The press release announcing the partnership between William Hill and Harrah’s Philadelphia said the casino would continue its use of the online Caesars Casino & Sportsbook for customers interested in betting by smartphone or computer.

William Hill was involved previously in Pennsylvania as operator for Penn National Gaming of the state’s first retail sportsbook, at Hollywood Casino in suburban Harrisburg, but Penn National ended that relationship a year ago. Penn National now uses Kambi odds for its two retail sportsbooks in the state and its new Barstool Sportsbook app.

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Both companies involved in big transactions

A press release announcing the partnership between William Hill and Harrah’s Philadelphia gave no explanation for the changeover in sportsbook operations, but it’s tied to the myriad transactions in recent months affecting the gaming companies involved.

Caesars Entertainment Corp. is the owner of Harrah’s, and on Sept. 30 it announced it would be purchasing British-based William Hill for $3.7 billion in a deal to close in the second half of 2021.

At the same time, Caesars has merged with Eldorado Resorts in a $17.3 billion mega-deal completed in July, and Eldorado had an existing partnership with William Hill to operate its sportsbooks.

It is unclear what, if any, impact all of the dealing will have on existing Caesars online sportsbooks like the one in Pennsylvania. That site launched in March as the ninth sports betting app in the state, to be followed last month by Penn National’s Barstool as the 10th.

Caesars has been using Scientific Games to power its online sportsbooks.

William Hill’s reach extends to 14 states

William Hill noted in its press release that the return to the Pennsylvania market makes it the 14th state where it operates sportsbooks, which total more than 160 locations nationwide.

Though not an online competitor in Pennsylvania, it takes mobile bets in Colorado, Iowa, Nevada, New Jersey, and West Virginia.

It also is the partner in the new sportsbook at the Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C., the first sports betting site inside a professional sports complex inside the U.S.

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Gary Rotstein

Gary is a longtime journalist, having spent three decades covering gambling, state government, and other issues for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, in addition to stints as managing editor of the Bedford (Pa.) Gazette and as a reporter for United Press International and the Middletown (Conn.) Press. Contact Gary at gary@usbets.com.

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