Bally’s delves into DFS with $90m Monkey Knife Fight purchase
Casino giant eyes US and Canadian expansion with all-share deal for proprietary fantasy platform and player database
Bally’s is set to acquire US-facing daily fantasy sports (DFS) operator Monkey Knife Fight (MKF) in an all-share deal worth up to $90m.
The casino giant will become the third US sports betting firm to own an in-house DFS asset, joining market leaders FanDuel and DraftKings.
MKF will receive warrants to purchase up to approximately $50m in Bally’s stock when the deal completes, as well as two additional tranches worth $20m over the next two years.
The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2021.
Bally’s CEO George Papanier said: “With this acquisition, we are pleased to enter into the high-growth DFS market.
“Monkey Knife Fight is a unique asset that we look forward to incorporating into Bally’s constantly growing omni-channel portfolio of land-based casinos and igaming platforms.
“As with all of the properties and services that fall under the iconic Bally’s brand, we are committed to providing a best-in-class DFS platform to sports fans around the country,” he added.
Bally’s hopes to combine MKF’s geographic reach across 37 states and the District of Columbia, as well as Canada, with Sinclair Broadcast Group’s portfolio of 21 regional sports networks.
The casino operator agreed a decade-long media partnership with Sinclair in November 2020.
According to Bally’s, MKF will help to develop a database of sports bettors in states such as California, Florida and Texas, which are expected to account for nearly a quarter of overall US sports betting revenue, according to research from Wall Street analysts.
The New York-listed operator will also use MKF to acquire players in Canada, a market that is widely expected to legalize online sports betting in 2021.
MKF – which boasts 180,000 registered users and 80,000 depositing players – will be incorporated into the Bally’s Interactive alongside recently acquired solutions provider Bet.Works.
MKF CEO Bill Asher said: “Since our inception, we have distinguished ourselves from competitors by providing the best experiences for our valued players, forming strategic partnerships with teams, ownership groups and players unions, and acquiring strategic assets to bolster our position in the market.
“I am immensely proud of all we have accomplished over the past three years at MKF and am confident that the talented Bally’s team has what it takes to continue to grow and develop what is already a great business,” he added.
Bally’s share price hit an all-time high of $55.43 on the back of the news.