Bally’s, looking to retool its online sports wagering brand after a failed attempt to use parts acquisition to build a platform, entered a multi-year agreement with Kambi on Tuesday to provide odds and lines for the Rhode Island-based gaming company.
It also signed a separate long-term agreement with White Hat Gaming for its PAM (privileged access management) platform, which includes its proprietary cashier, multiple RGS (remote gaming server) integrations, managed services, and “traveling wallet” that was designed in-house and made specifically for the U.S. online gaming market.
Bally’s, whose most notable state of mobile sportsbook operation is New York, had acquired Bet.Works for $125 million in June 2021 to run its sports wagering platform. It was part of a slew of acquisitions for the formerly named Twin River that cost more than $700 million as part of its rebrand to Bally’s and expansion that currently has it operating 15 casinos spanning 10 states and with access to online sports wagering in 18 states.
“We are very excited to have entered into long-term agreements with both Kambi and White Hat — two of the world’s most established and trusted gaming technology companies. Kambi provides an award-winning sportsbook that delivers unrivaled sports betting entertainment,” said Bally’s Corp. CEO Robeson Reeves. “By incorporating that with White Hat’s PAM platform solution, as well as our geographic reach, customer base, and marketing prowess, Bally’s will be optimally positioned to achieve significant scale and capture substantial market share in the global gaming market.
“This, in turn, will support our vision of becoming the premier, full-service, vertically integrated casinos and resorts, online sports betting, and iGaming company.”
A struggle to gain online share
Bally’s has had difficulty gaining traction in the hyper-competitive U.S. sports wagering market. It has generated the lightest handle among the nine online platforms in New York, where Bally’s total handle of $12.6 million since accepting its first wagers last July equates to a mere 8.4% of the $150.4 million handle FanDuel generated for the week of April 24-30. Bally’s also has hardly any market presence in Arizona and Iowa, two states that provide monthly operator figures.
In Arizona, Bally’s has generated just shy of $2 million handle in its first 12 months of wagering through January. Its handle for the first month of 2023 was $103,954, less than 0.02% of the $585.4 million mobile handle in the state.
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In the Hawkeye State, Bally’s overall handle for the first quarter of 2023 was $5,778, and Bally’s posted an AGR (adjusted gross revenue) loss of $9,824. New Jersey provides only revenue figures, and Bally’s mobile platform had an AGR loss of $163,894 in the first three months of the year.
Reeves, who replaced Lee Fenton as Bally’s CEO on April 1, promised a more analytic approach to reviving Bally’s sports wagering platform. Kambi’s prowess in the brick-and-mortar space could also provide a needed spark that helps the Bally Bet brand.
Bally’s has a retail license in Illinois, where Bally’s Quad Cities has an organizational license for sports betting but has not made a request to commence wagering. Bally’s has been in the applicant queue for a Management Services Provider license needed for mobile betting in Illinois since last September. It is unknown, however, if that license — if approved — will be tethered to its Quad Cities venue or part of its planned $1.7 billion casino to be built in downtown Chicago, another application the Illinois Gaming Board is currently reviewing.
Long-term targets in the offering
Since legal wagering dramatically expanded across the U.S., Kambi has served as an online sports wagering platform provider for multiple sportsbooks, including DraftKings, PENN National (Barstool Sportsbook), Rush Street Interactive (BetRivers), and Unibet. While some of those books have pivoted to internal platform providers, Kambi continues to maintain a steady sportsbook presence in the U.S.
Kambi also has its Game Parlay program, its version of same-game parlay offerings. That has become a near-necessity for any online sportsbook to survive in the U.S. space given the rampant popularity of SGPs, especially during the NFL season. The deal provides Bally’s the option “to acquire a license to a limited part of Kambi’s online and retail technology source code.” Should Bally’s exercise that option, the two parties would then enter a long-term outsourcing deal for Kambi’s “modularized services” and offer the potential to be a “material source” of income for Kambi.
“We are pleased to enter into this long-term partnership with Bally’s to enable the enhancement and expansion of its online and retail sports betting platform and services,” said Kambi CEO and co-founder Kristian Nylén. “Kambi is the proven global leader in sportsbook provision and I believe this powerful collaboration with Bally’s will deliver its customers the next-generation betting entertainment they demand.”
Bally’s stock was at $16.94 in mid-morning Tuesday trading on the New York Stock Exchange, down 50 cents from the opening bell. Kambi Group PLC surged 7.5% to 184.50 Swedish Krona on the Nasdaq Stockholm, equal to $17.89 per share.