Bally's enters betting fray with $125m Bet.Works acquisition and Sinclair media deal
Decade-long Sinclair partnership will see 21 regional sports networks from Fox rebranded under Bally's name
Casino operator Bally’s has entered the US sports betting fray with a $125m cash-plus-shares deal to acquire Bet.Works, alongside a decade-long media partnership with Sinclair Broadcast Group.
Half of the Bet.Works purchase price will be paid in Bally’s common stock, which Bet.Works shareholders have agreed to hold for at least a year. The acquisition is expected to complete during the first quarter of 2021.
As part of the operator’s 10-year media partnership with Sinclair, Bally’s will integrate content into Sinclair’s 190 regional and national stations and digital channels, allowing the two to jointly market, design and integrate products on a state-by-state basis.
The agreement will see 21 existing Fox regional sports networks rebranded using the Bally Sports brand name, while the operator will also gain access to coverage of more than half of all MLB, NBA and NHL teams.
Sinclair’s regional sports network portfolio will receive annual naming rights fees and a committed percentage of Bally’s Interactive’s marketing spend.
Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed, however Sinclair will also purchase a minority stake in Bally’s.
Meanwhile, the acquisition of Bet.Works’ proprietary platform will establish a new Bally’s Interactive division that will also encompass the operator’s existing sports betting and online gaming operations.
“Owning Bet.Works’ superior technology platform will not only give Bally’s a long-term margin advantage online, but, more importantly, will also allow us to evolve our interactive product suite to go where sports betting and igaming customers are headed quickly,” Bally’s Corporation CEO George Papanier said.
“We are very pleased to bring this technology to our more than 14 million active customers who will experience Bally’s Casinos and Bally’s Interactive as a unified brand with a single player card and rewards system,” Papanier added.
Bet.Works founder and CEO David Wang will become the CEO of Bally’s Interactive division upon completion of the deal. Bet.Works’ existing team of 130 employees across its three offices – including 90 engineers – will transition into the new Interactive division.
In addition, the operator has revealed plans to open a technology development center in Rhode Island by the end of 2021, initially home to 25 employees.
“Bally’s is the perfect home for Bet.Works as it will allow us to continue to grow and innovate,” Wang said.
“Bet.Works will continue to offer our best-in-class solutions to our existing B2B clients and our future partners in the US market as we expand our reach into newly regulated states.
“Our turnkey solutions, which include marketing, operations, customer service, risk management and compliance, combined with our dedicated launch teams, will ensure we maintain a leading position in the B2B sector while powering Bally’s Interactive,” he added.
Bet.Works currently provides its platform to Canadian sports media company and betting operator TheScore.