Bally’s Acquires Bet.Works & Sinclair Networks Naming Rights

Bally’s Acquires Bet.Works & Sinclair Networks Naming Rights

Bally’s Corp. signaled a strong move into the U.S. sports betting market by buying sports-betting platform Bet.Works and acquiring the naming rights to 21 regional sports networks of the Sinclair Broadcasting Group.

The purchase of Bet.Works’ iGaming platform for $125 million and the Sinclair deal position Bally’s to become “one of the top U.S. sports betting and iGaming operators,” Soo Kim, chairman of Bally’s Corp.’s board of directors, said in a news release. The regional sports networks, which Sinclair bought last year, will rebrand using the Bally’s name and integrate sports betting content as part of a 10-year agreement with the gaming company in a deal that was announced after the close of trading late Wednesday.

“This arrangement represents an opportunity to revolutionize the U.S. sports betting, gaming and media industries,” Kim said in the news release. “Sinclair, with its broad holdings of stations, channels and RSNs, provides immediate, national brand recognition that will support the development of Bally’s player database for both our traditional casinos as well as our future online offerings, and ultimately deliver significant shareholder value.

“We look forward to integrating our first-in-class, omni-channel sports betting and iGaming offerings with Sinclair’s expansive broadcast network to create a more engaging and tailored experience for sports fans.”

The iconic Bally's brand previously owned by Caesars Entertainment was bought by Twin River Worldwide Holdings in October. Twin River, a casino operator based in Rhode Island, changed its name to Bally’s Corp. on Nov. 9 and begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange under its new ticker symbol — BALY.

Bally’s agreed to purchase Bet.Works, a U.S.-based sports betting platform provider to operators in New Jersey, Iowa, Indiana and Colorado, for $125 million, according to a news release.

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Bally's to have 2 Operating Divisions

After the deal becomes final, Bally's said it will form two distinct operating divisions: "Bally's Casinos," which will be comprised of its physical gaming and entertainment properties, and "Bally's Interactive," which will include new and existing contracts for sports betting and iGaming, including all of Bet.Works' sports betting operations, the release said.

”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,” George Papanier, president and chief executive officer of Bally's, said in the release.

Bally’s also announced Wednesday after trading that it had completed the previously announced acquisition of Bally's Atlantic City Hotel & Casino from Caesars Entertainment and Vici Properties for $25 million. It now has 14 casinos across 10 states.

About the Bet.Works Deal

Bally's said it expects to close the Bet.Works deal during the first quarter of 2021, pending regulatory approval and other closing conditions.

Bet.Works gives Bally's multiple omni-channel products, platforms, software and content solutions to help it deliver sports betting and iGaming offerings nationally to players.

David Wang, founder and CEO of Bet.Works, will serve as CEO of Bally's Interactive, the release said. The interactive division will integrate Bet.Works' 130 employees, including 90 engineers. Bally's Interactive said it plans to open a technology development center in Rhode Island, where the company is based, by the end of 2021.

”Bally's is the perfect home for Bet.Works as it will allow us to continue to grow and innovate,” Wang said in the release. “Bet.Works will continue to offer our best in class solutions to our existing B2B clients and our future partners in the U.S. market as we expand our reach into newly regulated states.”

Additional details of the Sinclair Deal

Highlights of the Bally’s-Sinclair agreement, according to the news release:

  • Bally’s will integrate content into the 190 television stations that Sinclair owns, operates or provides services to across 88 markets and its sports networks.
  • Bally’s will have access to Sinclair’s network of local, live sports content as the unified network brand and integrated partner across the 21 networks, accounting for more than half of the MLB, NBA and NHL teams in the U.S.
  • There will be premium integration opportunities for Bally’s across Tennis Channel, the home of more than 95% of all live tennis matches broadcast in the U.S., Sinclair’s 24/7 multi-platform sports network, Stadium, and STIRR, Sinclair’s fast growing direct-to-consumer streaming app offering live and on-demand content.
  • Sinclair will receive warrants to acquire 14.9% of Bally’s common shares as well as warrants to purchase up to a total of an additional 10% of Bally’s common shares contingent on the achievement of various performance metrics.

“Since acquiring Tennis Channel a few years ago and the RSNs last year, we have been working on developing an innovative experience that changes the way people think about and view live sports across all our platforms,” Chris Ripley, president and CEO of Sinclair, said in the news release. “Bally’s, with its strong brand name, premier sportsbook technology platform and expansive market access, is the perfect partner to help us change the paradigm of sports viewing across all our assets.

”With the U.S. sports betting and iGaming market expected to ultimately reach $50 billion at maturity, this partnership perfectly positions our sports portfolio to fully capitalize on changing audience behavior.”