According to a recent Financial Times report, the gambling industry faces tougher regulation. However, US gambling businesses are likely to remain interested in UK gambling businesses as acquisition targets.
US gambling businesses have benefitted from an increase in their stock value due to a positive outlook for the size of the gambling market. This follows the US Supreme Court ruling in 2018 in Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association. An important element of this positive outlook is the foreseen material increase in the size of the addressable market for online gambling. Most online gambling experience is in Europe and Asia; in the former online gambling has been a significant part of the gambling market for many years, in particular in the UK which remains the world's largest regulated gambling market.
Caesars Entertainment, Inc. acquired William Hill PLC last year in order to take advantage of its online technology. It has agreed to sell the non-US business, including the significant UK chain of retail shops, to 888 Holdings plc. This latter transaction will likely be reviewed by the Competition and Markets Authority.
As to the suggestion that further acquisitions by US business are likely, it will be interesting to see whether the government considers questions of public interest arise requiring some form of regulatory intervention. Similar concerns in the US have been used to block transactions in that sector and those concerns have been found to be consistent with WTO laws regarding foreign direct investment.
Gambling operators braced for next round of tougher UK regulation