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In late January, two announcements were made that shook the American sports betting world. Firstly, on the 25th, Ballys announced that they would be acquiring the fastest DFS (daily fantasy sports) site in North America, Monkey Knife Fight (MKF). This agreement instantly made Ballys one of the largest DFS operators in the US today. Secondly, on the 27th, Sinclair Broadcast Group, one of America’s largest telecom conglomerates, unveiled a major partnership with Ballys to introduce a new sports betting product.
Also on the table of acquisitions by Ballys is the acquisition of Bet.Works, a technology and services company specializing in iGaming and sportsbook products. The new coalition of these three entities will surely transform the US sports betting industry.
These two announcements, made within days of each other, have turned the sports betting market on its head. Why is this such a big deal, and what does it mean for sports bettors and sports fans in the US? We’ll be covering these topics and answering some questions as to what the Ballys Sportsbook will likely look like.
On the 25th, Bally's announced they are acquiring 100% of MKF
MKF is recognized as the fastest-growing DFS operator in North America
The move was made in coordination with Bally's long-term growth strategies
MKF has approximately 180,000 registered users and 80,000 depositing players
The agreement made public on the 25th instantly makes Ballys one of the most dominant DFS entities in the United States today, but the deal works both ways. In the statement, Ballys announced that it plans to invest massively into their new brand with plans to establish footholds in several major States such as California, Florida, and Texas, which account for about 20-25% of projected US sports bettors.
Monkey Knife Fight is currently active in 37 states and with the commitment by Ballys to push aggressively into others with a long-term strategy to dominate the market. This will be done through strategic partnerships such as with MKF and the Sinclair Group.
In a statement from Ballys, Bill Asher, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Monkey Knife Fight, had this to say:
“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.”
Bet.Works is a US-based sports betting platform with 130 employees, including 90 engineers
The move ensures that Ballys will be set with the internal teams they require for an ambitious expansion
The move by Ballys brings to the table the ability to transform Ballys into a premier, full-service sports betting and iGaming company in the U.S.
The purchase price for Ballys to acquire Bet.Works and their 130 employees was $125M. Ballys anticipates that at maturity the USA iGaming market will exceed $50B, and the Bet.Works acquisition is a key part of the long term strategy to take as many shares of that total as possible.
Sinclair Broadcasting Group is one of the largest local broadcasting TV and regional sports networks in the nation
With 23 regional sports network brands, 627 over-the-air channels, and 88 broadcast TV markets Sinclair reaches about 70% of all households in the United States
Sinclairs Network affiliations include FOX, ABC, CBS, NBC, and many more
The deal between Sinclar and Ballys is set to span a 10-year mutual agreement with an option to extend. Ballys will receive additional integrations into Sinclair’s assets including the Tennis Channel. Sinclair’s Stadium network and programming will also be integrated with the Ballys name.
A digital-first approach with the spread of Sinclair Group and the technical power of Bet.Works all but ensures that the Ballys brand will create formidable mobile sports betting brand with unprecedented reach across the US.
It is more than likely that Ballys will soon become the preeminent sportsbook of choice for sports bettors across the country.
One last link in the chain for Ballys is the rebranding of Sinclair’s large FOX Sports brand giving Ballys a massive and established news arm in which to report sports coverage and project themselves into the living room.
This unique partnership has many goals, detailed in a press release supplied by Ballys:
Wagering increases time spent on platforms
The majority of fans are more likely to watch a game if they bet on that same game
Sports bettors are estimated to generate ~2x the ratings of non-sports bettors
Action on the game (Free-to-Play or real-money wagering) drives tune-in to monitor bets
Continuous brand exposure through multiple integrations such as pregame, in-game, and post-game segments
Ability to create customized marketing campaigns to target specific audiences
The current sports betting markets across the states have yet to reach maturity so this trio of announcements comes none too soon for a major new brand to break into the market and gain a foothold. As we have previously mentioned, it is too early to tell now what the Ballys brand will look like a year from now but with the massive momentum behind this unprecedented trio of deals it is likely that Ballys will have a dominant share of the $50B estimated market.
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Billy “Krackman” Krackomberger has made his living as a professional sports gambler for nearly three decades. You have seen him on ESPN, Gaming Today, and SiriusXM. His connections in the sports gambling industry run all the way to the top. His bets move the lines and regularly have him banned from books for being too sharp. Email: [email protected]More info on Bill Krackomberger
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