Bally’s and Caesars Entertainment add daily fantasy sports deals

Two major casino companies announced deals with daily fantasy sports providers on Monday as they look to expand their reach and incorporate different forms of fan engagement with professional sports into their gaming operations.

In the first deal, announced Monday morning, Bally’s continued its acquisition by acquiring daily fantasy sports company Monkey Knife Fight in an all-equity transaction that further expands the fast-growing company’s desire to add casino, online sports betting and media companies.

Later today, Caesars Entertainment announced a strategic investment in SuperDraft, a daily fantasy sports company launched in September 2019, with the ability to acquire the entire company over time.

Daily fantasy sports involve players putting together virtual rosters of professional athletes and then competing against others based on how those athletes perform in real life. It is played just for fun, as well as for money.

There has been a growing synergy between daily fantasy sports and sports betting; two of the original dominant fantasy providers, DraftKings and FanDuel, have become the leading sports betting bookmakers in the United States

Bally’s, based in Providence, Rhode Island, becomes the third US sports betting company to offer a daily fantasy sports component, along with DraftKings and FanDuel.

Bally’s has been in tears in recent months, adding gaming and media properties in an effort to become a major national player.

“With this acquisition, we are delighted to enter the high growth market (daily fantasy sports),” said George Papanier, President and CEO of the Company. “Monkey Knife Fight is a unique asset that we look forward to integrating into Bally’s ever growing omnichannel portfolio of land-based casinos and iGaming platforms.”

Bally’s recent moves include the purchase of Bally’s Casino in Atlantic City, a media partnership with Sinclair Broadcast Group, and its impending acquisition of Bet Works.

The company plans to integrate Monkey Knife Fight’s geographic presence in 37 states, Washington, DC and Canada, with Sinclair’s portfolio of 21 regional sports networks.

Monkey Knife Fight has approximately 180,000 registered users, of which 80,000 have made monetary deposits to play.

Papanier said Monkey Knife Fight would support Bally’s plans to develop a database of potential customers in states that have yet to embrace sports betting but are seen as lucrative potential markets, including California, the Florida and Texas, as well as Canada.

The deal is expected to be finalized in the first quarter of 2021.

Caesars has not disclosed the amount of its investment in SuperDraft, which operates in more than 35 states.

“We are thrilled to be a part of Caesars’ powerful gaming ecosystem,” said Steve Wang, CEO and Founder of SuperDraft. “Everyday fantasy gamers deserve a breath of fresh air, and we’re here to transform the industry. SuperDraft is now well positioned to accelerate its growth with financial strength while broadening its appeal to consumers with larger contests and better rewards for players of all interest levels.

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