Bally’s Gaming Resume Grows with Monkey Knife Fight DFS Deal

Bally’s Gaming Resume Grows with Monkey Knife Fight DFS Deal

Bally's Corp. announced on Tuesday that it has has completed a deal to acquire a daily fantasy sports company, Monkey Knife Fight. The deal was announced on Jan. 25.

Bally’s, previously Twin River Holdings based in Rhode Island, owns and manages 11 casinos across seven states, a racetrack and OTBs. Among its casinos is Bally's in Atlantic City. The deal with Monkey Knife Fight is an all-stock transaction.

Bally’s has been moving on a number of fronts to bolster its position in the fast-moving U.S. interactive gambling landscape. The MKF acquisition “complements Bally's recent media partnership with Sinclair Broadcast Group and its pending acquisition of Bet.Works, including its proprietary technology stack,” the company said in a news release.

The daily fantasy sports operation acquisition is part of Bally’s overall customer acquisition strategy. MKF has 180,000 registered users and 80,000 depositing players, Bally's said, adding that MKF should “become an integral component of the ‘Bally's Interactive’ division, as well as contribute to Bally's growing player database.”

Monkey Knife Fight is described as the third-largest daily fantasy company, trailing runaway industry leaders DraftKings Casino and FanDuel DFS.

Overall, the inclusion of MKF along with the Sinclair partnership expands Bally’s geographic reach. The daily fantasy company is in 37 states, the District of Columbia and Canada. Meanwhile, Sinclair has a portfolio of 21 regional sports networks. Effectively integrating those components will be important to Bally’s longer-term growth.

"We are pleased to have closed on our acquisition of Monkey Knife Fight, and are now focused on integrating this unique asset into our Bally's Interactive division," George Papanier, president and chief executive officer of Bally's Corp., said in a news release issued on Tuesday. "...We look forward to providing sports fans across the nation with a dynamic and engaging DFS platform that is commensurate with the premier offerings that define the Bally's portfolio."

For its part, MKF receives “exercisable penny warrants to purchase up to approximately $50 million in Bally's common shares (subject to adjustment) at closing, and contingent penny warrants to purchase up to approximately $20 million in additional Bally's common shares on each of the first and second anniversaries of closing.” The $90 million transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of this year.

Latest Gaming Move for Bally’s

In November, Bally’s Corp. strengthened its position in the U.S. sports betting market by acquiring the naming rights to 21 regional sports networks of the Sinclair Broadcasting Group and buying sports-betting platform Bet.Works.

The regional sports networks, which Sinclair bought last year, are in the process of rebranding using the Bally’s name and integrate sports betting content as part of a 10-year agreement with the gaming company.

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

Monkey Knife Fight and NFL Players Association Deal

In late October, the NFL Players Association reached a multiyear partnership agreement with Monkey Knife Fight and OneTeam Partners that will include licensing, joint marketing and player involvement.

The union said it will have an equity stake in Monkey Knife Fight, which is the official licensee of the NFLPA in daily fantasy sports.

Monkey Knife Fight has partnerships with the NFL’s Miami Dolphins, Los Angeles Chargers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and teams in other major sports.

When the deal was announced, Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson said players had been looking for a growing business to have a stake in.

”Daily fantasy sports, in particular, is a booming new business, and we're excited to lock arms with one of the fastest growing fantasy sports companies in the country right now," he said.