Bally’s is attempting to rebuild its US sports betting app and online gaming presence by tapping third-party technology after more than $3 billion in unsuccessful acquisitions.
Bally’s Corporation reached a multi-year agreement with B2B tech provider Kambi to relaunch Bally Bet in seven states by the end of 2023, the companies announced Tuesday. BallyBet will also have access to a range of game aggregation, payment processing and player management features under a separate agreement with White Hat Gaming.
It marks the end of Bally’s costly quest for its own in-house sports betting product, a popular trend among competitors like DraftKings and Barstool. Bally’s will move onto the same platform used by competitor BetRivers.
New Bally’s regime continues overhaul
Kambi and White Hat are the first sports betting partnerships under new CEO Robeson Reeves, who took over in March after former CEO Lee Fenton resigned in the wake of the company’s sports betting struggles.
In February, Bally’s shut down Bet.Works and Monkey Knife Fight, which the previous regime spent more than $215 million to acquire after also grabbing Gamesys for more than $2 billion. He admitted neither gave Bally’s the competitive product it sought in its rebrand from Twin River, and accounted for a $390 million non-cash impairment, according to a Q4 2022 investor presentation.
“We are very excited to have entered into long-term agreements with both Kambi and White Hat — two of the world’s most established and trusted gaming technology companies. Kambi provides an award-winning sportsbook that delivers unrivaled sports betting entertainment,” Reeves said.
“By incorporating that with White Hat’s PAM platform solution, as well as our geographic reach, customer base, and marketing prowess, Bally’s will be optimally positioned to achieve significant scale and capture substantial market share in the global gaming market. This, in turn, will support our vision of becoming the premier, full-service, vertically integrated casinos and resorts, online sports betting, and iGaming company.”
Bally Bet has not caught on yet
Like most sportsbooks not named DraftKings or FanDuel, Bally’s has struggled to catch on widely in the US.
In New York, the largest of Bally Bet’s six active states, Bally Bet holds the least handle among nine online operators, taking just $12.6 million of the state’s $20 billion-plus in bets. Bally’s share of sports betting handle in the most recent reports for Arizona, Indiana, Iowa, and Virginia is also below 1%. The company has not yet gotten off the ground in the 11 other states where it has market access.
Bally’s expects to lose up to $50 million from its North American business this year. Meanwhile, its regional sports network partner is in the middle of a bankruptcy restructuring.
Bally’s was trading as high as $17.55 on the New York Stock Exchange Tuesday, up 15 cents on the day. Kambi Group PLC was trading as high as 187.40 Swedish Krona on the Nasdaq Stockholm, a weekly high and equivalent to $18.19.
Kambi scores timely win
In a recent investor call Kambi CEO Kristian Nylen claimed the trend for sportsbooks to own their own tech would reverse amid further regulation, inflation, and pressure to turn a profit.
DraftKings moved off Kambi after a $3.3 billion merger with SBTech. Penn Entertainment is planning to move the Barstool app entirely off Kambi by 2023.
The Bally’s deal is especially timely for Kambi given the newcomer it just missed out on and another option Bally’s had.
Sports merchandise giant Fanatics recently reached a deal with Amelco to power its nascent sports betting app. Bally’s was a possible candidate to buy PointsBet US, though the Kambi deal likely ends those prospects, given the value placed on PointsBet’s technology.