Business By The Books: Is Bally’s Upcoming MA Launch Actually About Sports Betting?

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Bally’s still intends to launch mobile sports betting in Massachusetts by the end of June, more than 15 months after the market launched.

That is according to COO Brett Calapp, who appeared in person Thursday for a Massachusetts Gaming Commission meeting that most of the commission held remotely.

Calapp said “it’s taken us some time to get here” and mentioned the significant changes from their failed in-house technology to third-party providers Kambi and White Hat. The target was always some time in the second quarter, he added, but it took time to nail down exactly when.

So Bally’s will, after all, launch Bally Bet with a Massachusetts sports betting license. What Bally Bet will likely be after more than anything else, though, is a funnel to iGaming in Rhode Island.

Bally Bet entering sports betting tough market

Massachusetts is not exactly a friendly looking sports betting market to potential participants.

The market is dominated by DraftKings, which took 50.9% of all mobile handle in February. FanDuel is a distant second place but took a healthy 30% of mobile handle in February.

Add the fact that ESPN Bet is vying for the same new customers as Bally Bet and that two smaller operators, Betr and WynnBET, both left in February, and it is hard to see why a brand with little market share to show in other states would be interested in fighting for a small piece of the sports betting market in Massachusetts. Another operator, Betway, decided against launching in the state.

Bally’s launched RI iGaming in March

Rhode Island legalized online casino games with the monopoly going to Bally’s, the operator of the state’s two casinos. The market went live in March.

Massachusetts residents are no strangers to driving to Rhode Island’s border. Little Rhody opened its online sportsbook in September 2019, meaning those in southeastern Massachusetts were making the drive to the border for more than three years to place their legal sports bets.

Massachusetts has casinos, of course, but not everyone wants to drive through Boston to get to Encore, and MGM Springfield is a farther drive than the state line the closer to Boston a bettor is.

Essentially, it seems Bally’s is willing to pay the $1 million annual license fee for sports betting in Massachusetts for the ability to cross-sell that crowd of customers into Bally Casino if they are willing to take the ride to Rhode Island.

Caesars adds mobile sports betting in Biloxi

Gamblers at Harrah’s Gulf Coast in Biloxi, Mississippi, can now place sports bets on their phone while on property.

Mississippi was one of the first states to launch legal sports betting following the end of PASPA in 2018, but it launched with a restricted mobile component.

Due to state law, online betting can only be done while physically present at the sportsbook’s partner casino. That could change this year, though, as a bill to legalize statewide mobile is on its way to a conference committee.

PrizePicks extends partnership with Braves

PrizePicks said it has reunited with the Atlanta Braves to extend their partnership as an official daily fantasy sports partner of the team.

The DFS operator will have LED signage in the outfield as well as prominent signage throughout Truist Park.

PrizePicks is based in Georgia and recently moved into a new $25 million headquarters in Atlanta.

ESPN Bet adds new sports betting ad

Scott Van Pelt is featured in the new ESPN Bet ad out in time for the NBA and NHL Playoffs.

“It’s The Playoffs” is the sixth ad for ESPN Bet in its ongoing “What a Play” campaign.

BlueBet, betr merger could change US plans

BlueBet is live in three states with a B2C platform and just signed its first B2B contract in Ohio, but that all might be for naught should its proposed merger with betr close.

This betr is not the American betr that Jake Paul backs. The Australian betr will receive 265.4 million shares, and BlueBet is raising another A$20 million through a share placement.

BlueBet noted in its investor presentation that Australia will be the primary focus of the combined business, and it will perform a strategic review of the US assets following the close of the merger.

BlueBet has no planned B2C ClutchBet brand launches despite a previously scheduled Indiana launch in January.

Sightline partners with GeoComply

Digital payment facilitator Sightline will exclusively use GeoComply for its IDComply identity verification product as well as its geolocation tools.

The agreement strengthens know-your-customer and anti-money laundering requirements, which helps reduce account takeovers.

Sightline has more than 80 partners across over 40 states.