New Jersey’s Caesars & Bally’s Do DFS Platform Deals

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11 Feb 2021 11:00

New Jersey gaming industry icons, Bally’s and Caesars have diversified into the competitive Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) space and look set to both make their own plays to take on the DFS giants, FanDuel and DraftKings, and see off other newcomers like PlayUp.

Bally’s and Caesars have made separate deals with different DFS companies. Bally’s has purchased Monkey Knife Fight (MKF), while Caesars has invested in SuperDraft, another DFS company. Both transactions are expected to help the two companies recruit sportsbook customers, much in the same way that FanDuel and DraftKings do.

Bally’s Monkey Knight Fight Deal

Bally’s (formerly known as Twin River Worldwide Holdings) announced the signing to acquire MKF, the third-biggest DFS operator behind market giants DraftKings and FanDuel and the home of what Bally’s has phrased “the fastest-growing gaming platform in North America.”

The $90 million buyout, which Bally’s expects to complete before the end of Q1 2020 in the current quarter plays into  Bally’s plans to incorporate MKF into its new ‘Bally’s Interactive’ division, which also includes the Bet.Works sports betting platform that it acquired last November. By offering MKF to complement its sports wagering activities, Bally’s will become only the third U.S. sports betting operator to include DFS, joining DraftKings and FanDuel ahead of Caesars and New Jersey’s latest sportsbook starting before the end of Q1, PlayUp.

Bally’s Chief Executive Officer George Papanier announced MKF as a “unique asset” allowing Bally’s to join in the “high-growth DFS market.” To date MKF has approximately 180 000 registered users and 80 000 depositing customers that Bally’s hopes to convert to real money sports betting, particularly in major DFS markets yet to legalize wagering (however may do in the near future), like Massachusetts, Texas and Georgia.

Bally’s acquisition of MKF is further evidence of the company’s aggressive expansion plans that have included spreading its wings to now have a presence of 15 properties across 10 states. To accompany the MKF deal, Bally’s have also struck a media partnership agreement with the Sinclair Broadcast Group to have them rebrand their 21 regional Fox Sports divisions with the Bally’s brand.

Caesars’ SuperDraft Takeover

As part of their new deal, Caesars will initially hold a minority equity stake in SuperDraft as they look to be able to offer a DFS option to the company’s many sports and members of Caesars Rewards, the world’s largest gaming loyalty program. Caesars has negotiated the option to grow its equity to 100% of SuperDraft over time. No details were released concerning the financial terms of the new deal.

SuperDraft has operations in roughly two-thirds of U.S. states, and the addition of a DFS option for its customers, this completes Caesars’ suite of online gaming options, including Caesars Online Casino and Sportsbook, the World Series of Poker, and with the purchase of U.K-based sportsbook William Hill, the company has a full set of possible online gaming platforms.

SuperDraft will also soon be linked into the Caesars Rewards program, the gaming industry’s largest loyalty program. Caesars Rewards allows for online and land-based players to collect loyalty points that can be exchanged for free dinners, free stays, discounts, cash refunds etc. at all Caesars-owned bricks-and-mortar properties or online operations.

Making his feelings known on the SuperDraft deal, Caesars Entertainment Chief Executive Officer, Tom Reeg said: “The addition of daily fantasy sports fits seamlessly with our strategic vision for mobile and online sports. SuperDraft’s innovative multiplier game mode is unique in the marketplace, and we believe it offers a tremendous opportunity to strengthen our position in the sports gaming landscape”.

Look for cross-promotions to be released soon between Caesars and SuperDraft.

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