It will be a bit longer before the full sports betting plans of Bally’s and its Bally Bets sportsbook come to light.
Bally’s was supposed to close on the $125 million acquisition of sports betting platform Bet.Works in the first quarter. That delay comes at the regulatory level but not because of concerns over the deal.
The Indiana Gaming Commission only meets quarterly, with its next meeting coming in June. The Bet.Works approval appears to have gotten lumped into Bally’s acquisition of Tropicana Evansville, Executive VP of Strategy and Operations Marc Crisafulli said Thursday on the company’s 2020 earnings call.
That means the pending work for Bally’s new interactive segment pushes back a couple of months. The Bally Bets sportsbook app should launch in the second quarter, Crisafulli said.
First states for Bally Bets
Figuring out where Bally Bets will focus first is as simple as looking at where Bet.Works is active now:
Those four states will form the initial focus before any additional operations launch.
“We want to make sure we’ll building it properly for the long term,” Crisafulli said. “So we have to see how those initial launches go and then we’ll start to layer in additional states beyond that. So you can expect a pretty ambitious program through 2022 as we bring all of those assets online.
Sinclair deal will take shape in second quarter
Bally’s has been busy growing its interactive segment through a number of deals, but one of the most important might be the renaming of regional sports networks owned by Sinclair.
The 21 RSNs will be renamed with the Bally brand. That work could start next month as Crisafulli said the first renaming will happen early in the second quarter.
“As the sports industry recovers from COVID and as we start having a full calendar of sports we expect a recovery and think of the RSNs Sinclair has as an important component for us to execute our vision,” Crisafulli added.
Bally’s has a plan to “capitalize on this gamification opportunity with all of their assets,” he said.
Monkey Knife Fight, Sportcaller help build Bally Bets database
Bally’s has about 14 million customers already but is clearly looking for more through the various agreements it has signed. Along with raising brand awareness through those RSNs, the Monkey Knife Fight and SportCaller purchases are other ways to get more customers.
Both operations are “top-of-funnel” opportunities, VP of Strategy and Interactive Adi Dhandhania said:
“When we think about free to play and Sportcaller, it helps us to build that top-of-funnel customer database that we can eventually convert into real-money sports betting. What DFS and Monkey Knife Fight offer to us is the opportunity to build a database in states we don’t currently operate in or are not legalized. What we’ve seen with peers in our industry is that’s a great way to crossover and sell to the real-money platform.”
Bally’s ready to spend on sports betting, iGaming
More acquisitions could be coming for Bally’s.
The company would add complementary technologies and platforms to improve its sports betting and iGaming businesses, CEO George Papanier said. It sounds like Bally’s is getting funding ready just in case it finds something to buy.
After accounting for outstanding transactions, Bally’s has $128 million in pro-forma cash on hand. Recent renegotiations with its debt holders will let Bally’s add $200 million to its $250 million revolver.
“We’re likely to (raise the revolver) in the near future,” CFO Stephen Capp said. “Not for any particular funding needs but rather for an abundance of available liquidity.”