Bally’s acquires DFS firm Monkey Knife Fight for $90m

Bally’s Corporation has continued its spree of acquisitions after announcing it has acquired Monkey Knife Fight.

Bally’s Corporation, formerly known as Twin River Worldwide Holdings, has announced plans to acquire the daily fantasy sport (DFS) provider Monkey Knife Fight (MKF).

The deal

The deal will see the land-based casino operator acquire the DFS provider for up to $90m in stock and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2021.

MKF will receive immediately exercisable penny warrants to purchase up to $50m in Bally’s common shares. The DFS provider will also get warrants for up to $20m in additional Bally’s shares on both the first and second anniversaries of the deal being closed.

In the announcement, Bally’s said the acquisition of MKF was a part of its strategy to become the first “truly vertically integrated” online gambling company in the US across B2B and B2C spaces.

George Papanier, President and CEO of Bally’s Corporation said: “With this acquisition, we are pleased to enter into the high-growth DFS market. Monkey Knife Fight is a unique asset that we look forward to incorporating into Bally’s constantly growing omnichannel portfolio of land-based casinos and iGaming platforms.

“As with all of the properties and services that fall under the iconic Bally’s brand, we are committed to providing a best-in-class DFS platform to sports fans around the country.”

Bill Asher, Founder and CEO of Monkey Knife Fight said: “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.”

What is Monkey Knife Fight?

According to the announcement, Monkey Knife Fight is the third-largest DFS operator in North America with 180,000 registered users and 80,000 actively depositing players.

In the announcement, Bally’s explained that the DFS provider is currently active in 37 states and will allow the casino operator to establish a presence in states where sports betting has yet to be legalised.

The cross-sell between DFS and sports betting is one of the key reasons DraftKings and FanDuel emerged as early leaders in the US betting market.

In the announcement, Bally’s said: “MKF will support our plans to develop a potential sports bettors database in states such as California, Florida and Texas. These states are expected to account for 20-25% of US sports betting revenues.”

Bally’s also said that the acquisition will allow it to establish a player database in Canada which is expected to permit sports betting in the near future.

Another big move for Bally’s

This acquisition marks the US casino operators latest move to expand its presence in the US gambling space.

Earlier this month, Bally’s announced a deal with real estate and private equity investor, and former Valley Forge Casino owner, Ira Lubert, to construct a new category 4 satellite casino in Pennsylvania.

In October 2020, Twin River acquired the Bally’s brand from Caesars Entertainment and went on to rebrand its business as Bally’s Corporation.

This came after the casino operator purchased Bally’s casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey from Caesars and real estate investment trust, Vici Properties, for $25m back in April 2020.

After rebranding, the casino operator inked a $125m deal to acquire Bet.Works last year.

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