When Caesars Entertainment was acquired by Eldorado Resorts in July of this year, William Hill’s existing contract with Eldorado for the exclusive operation of all Eldorado sportsbooks allowed them to extend those rights to all Caesars properties with sports betting. According to Vegaschances.com, “previously, Caesars ran their Race & Sports Books, setting their own lines.”
This consolidation of sports betting operations at the largest casino company in the world has significant impacts on those betting on sports. Caesars Entertainment now operates 47 casinos in 12 states. Eight of those states already allow sports betting or have passed legislation clearing the way for its implementation.
Not all of the properties in those states have sportsbooks, but they likely will at some point. With William Hill managing the operations, it’s also likely that all of those sportsbooks will use the same lines. Caesars will no longer originate their own lines, so the Eldorado deal essentially eliminated one of the major originators.
For bettors shopping around for favorable lines, that just got a little more difficult. On the other hand, it also means that looking for different lines is less necessary and may have just made life a little easier. Either way, it has an impact.
Where Is This Headed?
From a macro perspective, over 20 states have legalized sports betting with all but three of the remaining states having some type of legislation working its way through the legislatures. All of this is the result of the state of New Jersey’s successful lawsuit that basically eliminated Nevada’s monopoly on the practice. The 2018 ruling did not make sports betting legal on a national basis but left it up to each state to make its own decision.
In partnership deals too numerous to recap here, previous fantasy operators DraftKings and FanDuel have made significant inroads to leagues and teams. Just recently, Michael Jordan became the face of the NBA’s relationship with DraftKings, the same group that also announced a sportsbook deal with Wrigley Field.
All of this has taken what used to be a common but illegal practice and made it mainstream, especially with the involvement of the sports leagues themselves. In the course of just a few years, gambling has gone from posing the biggest threat to competitive balance to being perceived as the savior of professional sports. NBA commissioner Adam Silver was the first major sports leader in the United States to embrace the concept.
Things to Consider
Not all states’ laws are created evenly. They each have their idiosyncrasies, such as specific sports that are included, where sports betting is allowed, varying types of access to wagering, the type of bets that are allowable, etc. For instance, to have access to online betting, some states require that you go to a physical location to establish an account.
In addition, just because a website allows sports betting doesn’t necessarily make it legal for everyone to participate. Some sites require geocoding, so they can verify that the bettor is in a location approved by state regulations. Others, such as horse racing sites, simply require that you’re a resident of the state or jurisdiction allowed for wagering.
Finally, gambling addictions can be devastating, both emotionally and financially. The increase in access to legal sports betting raises the risk that more people will get exposed to and be vulnerable to addictive behavior. It’s inherently difficult to consistently win, and with the consolidation of line originators, it will become even harder. Those new to wagering need to be made aware of the risk.
For me, I treat it as entertainment, expecting to lose, and being pleasantly surprised when I win. By taking that attitude, I’m never in danger of wagering more than I can afford to lose. If you love sports, it’s a great way to add to the excitement of the action.