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William Hill signs casino sports-betting deal in U.S. push

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William Hill signs casino sports-betting deal in U.S. push
FILE PHOTO - A pedestrian walks past a William Hill betting shop in London, Britain July 25, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall/File Photo   -   Copyright  Neil Hall(Reuters)
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(Reuters) – Betting company William Hill Plc <WMH.L> has signed a 25-year sports-betting partnership with U.S. casino operator Eldorado Resorts Inc <ERI.O>, a major step to expand its U.S. operation as the legalisation of sports betting spreads to more states.

Confirming an overnight report by Sky News, the UK-based firm said it had agreed to pay $50 million (£38.87 million) in stock, subject to a 3-5 year lock-up, as well as a 20 percent stake in its U.S. business and a share of profits from its licences under the deal.

The deal follows a Supreme Court ruling in May that lifted a broad ban on sports betting and follows moves by rival GVC Holdings <GVC.L> and Dublin-based bookmaker Paddy Power <PPB.I> to partner with other U.S. casino chains.

The deal covers 26 Eldorado casinos in 13 states and will lead to William Hill opening sportsbooks in five properties within weeks, the company said.

The push into the U.S. also comes as Britain cuts the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals to just two pounds to tackle problem gambling.

William Hill and rivals say that decision has hit a major source of revenue for their traditional networks of high-street betting shops, encouraging them to turn yet more attention to online gambling.

(Reporting by Justin George Varghese and Sangameswaran S in Bengaluru)

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