Bally’s Expansion Blitz Continues With $85m Sinclair Broadcast Deal, $125m Bet.Works Buy

  • Bally’s struck a strategic ten-year sports betting and iGaming partnership with Sinclair
  • It will reportedly pay Sinclair $85m to rebrand all 21 of its FOX regional sports networks
  • Bet.Works deal positions Bally’s as a top full-service sports wagering and iGaming firm
  • New sports betting and iGaming offerings can reach over 14 million active Bally’s customers
  • Bally’s also completed its $25m acquisition of Bally’s Atlantic City Hotel & Casino from Caesars
Bally's casino-hotel sign in Las Vegas
Casino company Bally’s has inked expansion deals that include a headline-grabbing sports betting and iGaming partnership with regional media giant Sinclair Broadcasting Group, Inc. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Three announcements in one day

Bally’s Corporation has maintained its bullish brand expansion drive, making three company announcements on November 18. These included news of a ten-year strategic sports betting and iGaming partnership reached with Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc., reportedly worth $85m.

Bally’s other eye-catching business saw it acquire Las Vegas-headquartered sports betting and iGaming supplier Bet.Works for $125m, subject to adjustment. The Lincoln, Rhode Island-based casino company concluded its Wednesday deal hat-trick with the completion of the previously announced buy of Bally’s Atlantic City Hotel & Casino from Caesars Entertainment Inc.

The headline-grabber, however, was the Sinclair tie-up. The Maryland-based diversified media company talked up its “transformational” partnership with Bally’s in a tweet:

According to the New York Post, the casino operator will pay Sinclair $85m over ten years for the right to rebrand all of Sinclair’s 21 FOX regional sports networks (RSNs) to Bally’s. In the process, Bally’s will get access to fans of more than half of the US’s NBA, NHL, and MLB franchises.

In turn, the media company will receive 14.9% stake in Bally’s and, according to the Post’s sources, will have the right to increase its stake by an additional 15% if it hits certain financial targets.

Bally’s can now deliver sports gamification content on a national scale

The deal will empower the pair to market, design, and integrate products on a state-by-state basis. Especially following the Bet.Works deal, an expansive market footprint means Bally’s can now deliver sports gamification content on a national scale.

Revolutionary sports betting, iGaming gambit

Bally’s company chair and hedge-fund investor Soo Kim said Sinclair’s broad mix of assets will provide “immediate, national brand recognition that will support the development of Bally’s player database.”

In a news release, Kim added that the partnership:

represents an opportunity to revolutionize the U.S. sports betting, gaming and media industries.”

For Kim’s expanding casino empire, however, the acquisition of Bet.Works for $125m is the business equivalent of crossing the Rubicon. Bet.Works currently provides sports betting platforms to operators in New Jersey, Iowa, Indiana, and Colorado. And with the keys to Bet.Works advanced, omni-channel platforms, products, software, and content solutions, Bally’s is now positioned to become a leading full-service, vertically integrated sports wagering and iGaming firm.

In short, Bally’s can unite online gaming with brick-and-mortar casinos under a single, increasingly iconic, American gaming brand.

Further unpacking of the both the Bet.Works deal and the Sinclair partnership reveals that Bally’s will merge its vertically integrated sports wagering technology and proprietary content into Sinclair’s 190 television stations across 88 markets. These include RSNs, local broadcast stations, Tennis Channel, direct-to-consumer streaming app STIRR, plus the multi-platform sports network, Stadium.

As a result, Bally’s burgeoning access to market and geographical footprint will shortly extend to ten US states. With more states to come, Bally’s has positioned itself to capture a considerable chunk of the estimated future $50bn US sports wagering and iGaming market.

Divvying up operations

Following the takeover of Bet.Works, Bally’s announced that it will form two distinct operating divisions. Physical entertainment and gaming properties will sit under Bally’s Casinos. Existing sports betting and iGaming contracts, including Bet.Works’ sports wagering business, will fall under Bally’s Interactive. Bally’s expects to complete the Bet.Works transaction during the first quarter of 2021.

President and CEO of Bally’s Corporation, George Papanier, said the Bet.Works deal would give Bally’s a “long-term margin advantage online”. He added that Bally’s was “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.”

Caesars buy reaches completion

On Wednesday, Bally’s also wrapped up the previously announced acquisition of Bally’s Atlantic City Hotel & Casino from Caesars Entertainment Inc. and Vici Properties Inc., for a total purchase price of $25m. Papanier said in a third November 18 news release that the finalization of the casino takeover “represents the latest addition in our ongoing portfolio diversification strategy.”

All three deals follow a series of lightning strategic strikes by the Bally’s rejuvenated brand over the last few weeks. After acquiring the Bally’s brand for $20m from Caesars Entertainment on October 13, Kim’s Twin River Worldwide Holdings announced it would officially rebrand its corporate identity to Bally’s Corporation starting November 9.