Chairman: Bally’s ‘Made Our Mistakes’ In Sports Betting

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ATLANTIC CITY, NJ — Bally’s chairman Soo Kim admitted the operator has “made our mistakes” when it comes to sports betting at the recent East Coast Gaming Congress

However, Kim is encouraged by the latest iteration of the Bally Bet sports betting app, powered by Kambi. Bally Bet is slated to launch in Massachusetts by the end of June, 15 months after the market opened. 

Kim is currently awaiting a response from Bally’s board on a proposal from his Standard General to take the company private at $15 a share.

Why sports betting mistakes made

Kim opened up about Bally’s mistakes to LSR at the ECGC conference last week. 

“We have made our mistakes in sports betting,” Kim told LSR. “Years ago, we tried to say, ‘Ok, let’s try to own everything. Soup to nuts. Build everything ourselves. Buy a little bit, and build on top of that.’ That was a mistake. And that cost us real money.”

Kim: Kambi partnership an upgrade

Bally Bet is now on Version 3.0 after $3 billion in acquisitions resulted in a less than 1% market share. 

“We just said, ‘You know what? Luckily, we don’t make the same mistake twice,’” Kim said. “So we’ve pivoted now to a partnership with Kambi. And now we have a product in the market that actually makes money, and doesn’t cost us a whole lot.

“So from that perspective, we feel like now we are actually able to relaunch and add markets. Really, in the beginning, we launched under the old Bally Bet in four or five markets, and we didn’t like what we were seeing. It cost too much to build, and we didn’t like the way it operated.

“We’ve started with the third-party operator, and now we’re up to eight states. And now we actually do want to roll out to every state we can.” 

Sports betting exits in Massachusetts

Massachusetts saw exits from smaller operators like Betr and WynnBet, who did not make a dent in the market.

Meanwhile, Betway decided against launching in the Commonwealth rather than doing so late. 

Bally Bet is, in some sense, a second-mover in the jurisdiction. 

Kim: Bally Bet can survive as amenity

In an age of mergers and acquisitions and consolidation, Kim believes Bally Bet will be able to survive against the top-tier operators while offering sports betting as an amenity. 

“I think that we are confident, especially with our physical assets and other drivers to customer awareness, that we don’t have to be first-movers to get to a place where we’re comfortable with, adding this service, which again, in the end, is an amenity to your guests,” Kim said. “Stay with us. Come gamble with us. And if you want to do sports betting with us physically (at the casino) or online, you can do that with us too. 

“What DraftKings and FanDuel have done is amazing getting to scale and the market shares that they have. But we still think there’s room for operators that can offer sports as an amenity to their guests — both physical and online.”