Bally’s Corp. Making Moves To Compete In Sports Betting Industry Nationwide

Bally’s sports betting interest has become clear over the past week with its acquisition of Bet.Works and a naming-rights deal with Sinclair.

Bally’s Corp. has committed to spending $90 million on its Atlantic City property over the next five years. Bally’s sports betting ambitions appear to be much broader than just New Jersey, however.

The last week has been a busy one for the gambling company, as it announced an agreement to acquire Bet.Works, a US sportsbook technology platform provider. On the same day, Bally’s Corp. shared the details of a strategic partnership to put its branding in front of millions of sports fans around the country. The end goal is obvious.

Both deals come on the heels of the company completing the purchase of Bally’s AC from Caesars Entertainment.

More on Bally Corp’s sports betting push

To compete with the big boys in the NJ sports betting industry in the Garden State and beyond, Bally’s needed a platform. Check it off the list.

Bet.Works currently powers theScore Bet app that is live in New Jersey and several other US jurisdictions.

For cash and stock worth $125 million, Bally’s will make Bet.Works’ products its own.

“This is the next step in our company’s evolution,” said Soo Kim, chairman of Bally’s Corporation’s board of directors. “By combining our expanding national footprint of casinos, the recently acquired Bally’s brand and Bet.Works’ proprietary technology stack, we have evolved in just a few short years from a regional casino operator into the first US gaming company committed to serving our customers with an omnichannel approach, combining the best of our physical properties with a superior online experience.”

A press release stated that Bally’s plans to split operations into two separate divisions, with one handling online products and the other focusing on retail casino business. The online division’s name will be Bally’s Interactive.

It’s unclear exactly when NJ online gamblers will have access to either product under Bally’s management. It’s also uncertain to what extent Bally’s will rebrand the platforms. The company doesn’t expect to actually close the transaction until early next year.

Whenever Bally’s does start pushing its online sports betting product, it will have a great chance to market it to sports fans. That’s the result of some more recent spending.

Bally’s buys RSN naming rights

This chain of events began years ago when Disney bought out 20th Century Fox. As part of the regulatory approval for that transaction, Disney had to sell off Fox’s 21 regional sports networks.

Last year, Sinclair Broadcasting purchased the entire lot. That gave the company rights to broadcast a multitude of sporting events in most of the United States.

For $85 million over the span of a decade, those networks will soon bear Bally’s name. The networks will all feature the name Bally’s Sports.

The companies plan to integrate Bally’s sports betting product directly into the broadcasts, going as far as to actually allow you to wager on an event using your television as you’re watching it. Here are some of the highlights of the strategic partnership:

  •  Sinclair and Bally’s will jointly market, design and integrate products on a state-by-state basis and deliver one-of-a-kind online gaming experiences.
  • 21 Fox RSN brands will be rebranded using the Bally name.
  • Bally’s will have premium integration opportunities across the Tennis Channel, the home of over 95% of all live tennis matches broadcast in the US, Sinclair’s 24/7 multiplatform sports network.

As it’s a naming rights deal and not an acquisition, it’s fair to assume Sinclair will still be free to sell advertising space to Bally’s competitors during broadcasts. Additionally, it’s yet uncertain what this will mean for Fox’s own sports betting platform, Fox Bet.

What’s clear, however, is the fact that Bally’s is all in on competing for sportsbook handle across the country. If it can maximize its deal with Sinclair, it has a good shot at gaining market share.

Bet Section Aims To Convert More Of theScore’s Audience To Sports Betting

New features for theScore Bet Section increase the personalization and marketing push in the app for New Jersey bettors and sports fans.

TheScore’s marketing plan is to take a large swath of its media audience and introduce it to sports betting. The Toronto-based company continues to  invest more resources into that strategy, which includes the debut of Bet Section within theScore app.

Score Media and Gaming Inc. announced the details via press release.

This new feature has a dedicated home within theScore‘s media app. According to the release, Bet Section will take the company’s “innovative cross-platform media and betting experience with theScore Bet to the next level.”

TheScore will try to deliver even more customized content to app users. The plan is to focus that content on betting angles.

How theScore Bet Section feature works

The new features of theScore’s Android and iOS apps are live. The selling point is greater personalization.

For example, if you consume content from theScore about the New York Giants, you’ll receive notifications in the app about wagering opportunities on the Giants. The idea is that theScore is informing Garden State bettors about the NJ sports betting markets they are most likely interested in.

The customization features go beyond simple tailored alerts, however. The app will also deliver personalized promos to accompany the browsing of those markets.

If an app user should actually pull the trigger, they will enjoy revamped wager tracking as well. In addition to live tracking of the bet(s), users can see real-time cash-out offers.

Finally, theScore has integrated a social component. Users can see how picks are polling and use that information to guide their wagering if they choose.

Here is what John Levy, founder and CEO of theScore, had to say about the Bet Section feature.

“We launched theScore Bet on the premise that betting should be a natural extension of how fans consume sports, not an isolated transactional experience,” said Levy. “With the launch of Bet Section, we’re further fulfilling that mission by creating an unparalleled cross-platform experience that personalizes and streamlines the betting process for users as they interact with our media app. It’s natural, seamless and reinforces our cutting-edge approach in fusing media with gaming.”

This new thrust is designed to maximize the amount of time that users spend on the app and increase engagement. There’s sound logic behind aiming to increase those metrics.

Now is the time to invest in mobile apps

According to some recent research, consumers have never spent more money or time on mobile apps. In the third quarter of the current fiscal year, Android and iOS device users spent over $28 billion within apps, which is an increase of 20% year-over-year.

So how does that relate to sports betting? TheScore knows its customers are spending a good amount of time on their devices. Consumers have no qualms about spending their money via apps on those phones and tablets.

So, the trick is getting them to spend as much time as possible on theScore’s app instead of its competitors.

The “magic” behind that trick is simple but difficult to execute consistently. TheScore believes it can compete in the space, however, with its diverse and robust array of written and video content.

Convenience and functionality are two other important components, as users tend to dismiss apps quickly if they can’t find what they’re looking for easily.

There’s no guarantee that tailored content will actually make more theScore app users deposit funds into betting accounts, but not marketing the sportsbook this way would seem like punting on an obvious opportunity at a return on investment.

Further down the line, theScore has plans to enter the NJ online casino market. It announced a market access deal with Twin Rivers Worldwide Holdings, now Bally’s Corp., which is expected to take over ownership of Bally’s Atlantic City before 2020 comes to a close

For now, the focus is on sports betting.

At the very least, this new feature should make the app more useful for existing theScore Bet customers. TheScore hopes it will make the number of such consumers grow as well.

Can TheScore Bet Online Casino Compete In A Crowded NJ Market?

Stop us if you’ve heard this before: Another online casino is coming to New Jersey. This time, it’s theScore Bet casino, thanks to Bally’s new owners.

If you’re keeping score of how many online casino options there are in New Jersey, you’re probably on the verge of losing count. And TheScore Bet Casino will soon be added to the myriad companies offering online versions of slots and table games.

There’s no exact launch date yet, but it will be another way for theScore Bet to try to snag a chunk of the millions of dollars gambled online in NJ each year.

Twin River Worldwide Holdings, which will provide NJ online casino access for theScore, has other matters to attend to first.

Details on theScore Bet online casino’s NJ entry

For the company, this will be a maiden voyage into the US online casino industry, with the intent to launch in the second half of 2021. The brand already operates an online sportsbook in NJ  and intends to do the same in Colorado and Indiana.

Securing the deal with Twin River is a preliminary regulatory step for theScore. The Canadian company still has to receive licensure from the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement before it can take its casino product live in the state.

That’s not an issue for Twin River, however. It has its own business to attend to as far as the Garden State goes right now.

As part of the state’s regulatory approval of the recent Caesars-Eldorado merger, that company has to finalize its sale of Bally’s Atlantic City. Twin River is the buyer in that transaction.

Until that transaction is complete, Twin River can’t launch NJ online gambling verticals under its master license anyway. That gives theScore plenty of time to get its other ducks lined up.

A press release denotes that the agreement between the two companies spans the next decade. There isn’t much information about what games the casino will offer when it launches, however.

TheScore online casino better bring its A-game

To compete for a share of the NJ iGaming market, theScore Bet can’t offer an inferior product. The company is aware that standing out from the crowd will be important.

And it’s a big crowd, with 24 online casino apps and growing.

“The addition of an online casino offering to our award-winning and truly differentiated mobile sports betting platform broadens our reach and deepens our strong portfolio of assets,” said John Levy, founder and CEO of theScore.

“This is yet another step toward providing theScore’s media and betting patrons with a completely holistic and tightly integrated media and gaming experience.”

TheScore’s Atlantic City casino partner feels the same way. A statement points toward a key component of a successful online casino product.

“We are excited to partner with theScore and to provide our Atlantic City guests with a highly personalized iGaming experience,” said George Papanier, president and CEO of Twin River Worldwide Holdings.

Winning a big slice of the NJ online casino market share requires that personalized touch that Papanier referred to. It also requires a big menu of games that the provider constantly refreshes to keep players engaged.

And it wouldn’t hurt to back up those games with a rotating list of bonus offers and promotions.

TheScore Bet casino app likely has the technology to provide that experience, and it says it wants to start doing so late next year.

By that time, Twin River and Bally’s should have everything lined up for launch.

Getty Images/Michael H

Sporttrade Ready To Bring First Sports Betting Exchange App To New Jersey

Sporttrade announced a deal with Twin River and Bally’s Atlantic City to launch a “truly differential product” to New Jersey: a sports betting exchange.

And just like that, Bally’s new owners have another sports betting partnership lined up.

In this case, Twin River Worldwide Holdings, which is in the process of buying the Atlantic City casino, is taking a creative approach to its plans. 

Philadelphia-based Sporttrade announced via a press release that it entered into a multiyear partnership with Twin River. The deal will provide an entry point for Sporttrade to launch its propriety sports betting exchange product in the Garden State.

It will be the first of its kind in the US. As far as a timeline goes, today’s announcement did not include a target date.

The partnership is the second to be announced with Bally’s in less than a week. The other is with Esports Entertainment Group.

Both deals are pending based on Twin River securing regulatory approvals and licensing in New Jersey.

And there is that minor detail of completing the casino sale with Caesars Entertainment.

Who in the world is Sporttrade?

Like Esports Entertainment, Sporttrade does not have brand recognition among NJ sports betting customers. In this particular case, it’s because the company is a sports betting startup. 

And not just any startup. Sporttrade wants to become the country’s first regulated sports betting exchange once it secures licensing from the Division of Gaming Enforcement.

According to Legal Sports Report, the exchange product will include “tighter margins and better prices, and the ability for sharp players to get bigger wagers down.”

Think of it as sports betting with a financial market twist.

Alexander Kane, founder and CEO of Sporttrade, said the company is prepared “to introduce a truly differential product to the New Jersey market.”

“By applying capital markets technology and market structure to the US sports betting ecosystem, we are creating something revolutionary.

“Sporttrade will establish a first-of-its-kind sports betting venue that will be fair, liquid and transparent, and we look forward to offering customers innovative betting products at significantly lower costs than traditional sportsbooks.”

A unique NJ sports betting approach

The Sporttrade deal is just the latest example of how Twin River is taking an outside-the-box approach to online sports betting in New Jersey.

Being a newcomer to the Atlantic City market, the license holder is permitted three online skins. Sporttrade will provide users a unique experience that no other license holder in the country is offering.

At least, not yet.

George Papanier, president and CEO of Twin River, referred to Sporttrade as a “great addition to our list of unique partnerships we are building in the Atlantic City market.”

Here is more from Papanier:

“They will bring a new, exciting online product offering for our guests, and we look forward to having them join our Atlantic City team.”

Esports Entertainment falls under the same category. The Garden State has yet to approve esports betting legislation. So for now, the DGE approves permitted wagers on a case-by-case basis.

There is one familiar name Twin River is working with … but not for sports.

PointsBet NJ has an agreement in place to launch its online casino product via its partnership with Bally’s new owner.

The PointsBet NJ sports betting app operates via the Meadowlands Racetrack license. To operate an online casino, however, the site must be linked to an AC property.

For Twin River, the trio of deals is proof of how serious it is about the Atlantic City market.

Atlantic City Casino Sets Sights On Esports Betting With New Online Partnership

Esports Entertainment Group announced a multiyear partnership to launch an NJ online sports betting product under the Bally’s Atlantic City license.

Twin River Worldwide Holdings is wasting little time building its NJ online sports betting footprint.

The Rhode Island-based company announced a multiyear partnership with Esports Entertainment Group ($GMBL).

This will pave the way for the latter to launch its proprietary mobile sports betting product. The timing remains a work in progress.

Twin River is in the process of purchasing Bally’s Atlantic City from Caesars Entertainment. And Twin River still needs licensing approval from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.

Here is what Esports CEO Grant Johnson has to say about the deal:

“We are excited to partner with Twin River [and] bring mobile sports betting to the New Jersey market.

“When we completed out IPO on Nasdaq earlier this year, it was with the intention of expanding our operations to the US. With this partnership, we’re delivering on that goal.”

Who is Esports Entertainment Group?

For Garden State bettors, Esports Entertainment does not have the same brand recognition as, say, FanDuel Sportsbook and BetMGM.

So who is this company?

According to its website, Esports Entertainment Group, which has offices in New Jersey and in Europe, is a “licensed next-generation online gambling company focused purely on esports.”

And this is where things get interesting.

Esports betting legislation is still in the works for New Jersey.

Earlier this year, the NJ State Assembly approved Bill A637 after it passed through committee. It is sponsored by Assemblymen Ralph Caputo (D-Essex) and Eric Houghtaling (D-Monmouth), who view esports as a skill-based competition that should be available for legal betting.

It still needs to be approved by the Senate and get Gov. Phil Murphy’s signature. For now, esports betting at NJ sportsbooks is approved on a case-by-case basis.

In 2019, the DGE permitted wagering on the League of Legends World Championship.

Should the legislation be signed into law, esports betting would become an actual thing. And that makes Esports Entertainment Group’s deal with Twin River and impending launch just a bit more intriguing.

Big NJ online gambling plans for new Bally’s

Twin River has yet to settle in at Bally’s. Yet the company is quickly lining up NJ online gambling partnerships.

PointsBet NJ has a deal in place to launch its online casino app under the Bally’s license.

The company currently has an NJ sportsbook app operating under the Meadowlands Racetrack license. But it’s safe to assume PointsBet customers would have access to a shared wallet between the casino and sports wagering products.

The Esports Entertainment platform adds another layer to Twin River’s iGaming plans.

Here is what George Papanier, president and CEO of Twin River, has to say about the Esports deal:

“Esports Entertainment will be a great addition to our growing partnerships with sportsbook leaders around the world, as we currently operate sportsbooks in Rhode Island, Colorado, Delaware and Mississippi.

“Bringing this new, unique offering to the AC market with a prominent gaming partner is one of the many exciting changes we have in store for Atlantic City in the months to come.”

Judging by that comment, Papanier and his team are far from finished with announcing Atlantic City plans.

Eagles’ Comeback Win A Happy Sight For NFL Fans At Bally’s Sportsbook

Bally’s sportsbook held its official grand opening prior to Sunday’s Eagles-Redskins NFL game. AC’s largest sportsbook is expected to attract a lot of fans.

Atlantic City’s largest sportsbook hosted its official grand opening celebration on Sunday.

The Book at Bally’s, all 15,228 square feet of it, hosted what resembled a Philadelphia Eagles tailgate party.

Cotton candy, Cracker Jack, and AC’s first self-serve beer wall, included.

But this gathering of several hundred NFL betting fans was not interested in a ribbon-cutting ceremony or speeches.

Kickoff for the Eagles-Washington Redskins game was fast approaching.

The line for the betting windows extended to the center of the Wild Wild Wild West Casino floor. That’s where the former temporary space was set up.

While all the betting action was taking place, there was a small ceremony nearby. Former Eagles’ Chris Long, Hollis Thomas and Fred Barnett came running through a giant banner as confetti was fired off.

Inside Bally’s sportsbook in Atlantic City

There was no need for someone famous to step up to one of the betting windows to place $100 bet on the Dallas Cowboys to cover against the New York Giants.

The Book, one of three new permanent spaces that opened back in June, is bigger than the DraftKings Sportsbook at Resorts (5,000 square feet) and William Hill Sportsbook at Ocean Casino (7,500 square feet), combined.

Long, who won Super Bowl rings with the New England Patriots and Eagles, did pose for pics with fans.

Celebrities aside, the management team at Bally’s is “super excited” about the finished product.

The previously unused and vacant space located toward the back of the casino floor is now a gathering spot for thousands of football betting fans several days a week.

Besides having the massive space, the main attraction is the 98 foot by 18 foot, high-resolution LED television wall with surround sound.

And it can show up to 16 games at once. Sunday’s early viewing experience included:

  • Atlanta Falcons and Minnesota Vikings
  • Jacksonville Jaguars and Kansas City Chiefs
  • New York Jets and Buffalo Bills
  • Baltimore Ravens and Miami Dolphins
  • Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets

But more importantly, the massive sportsbook is an added attraction for the slower months.

Karie Hall, general manager at Bally’s AC, is looking forward to seeing what the new space does for the property.

“We get extra business in. People get an experience they didn’t get before. We are excited to see how well that translates throughout the fall and winter.” 

The NJ sports betting space services sister properties Bally’s and Caesars customers, too.

Barnett says Eagles have tools to go far

While the other properties around town held their respective opening NFL weekend festivities, fans at Bally’s enjoyed some added perks.

Long, Barnett and Thomas were on property signing autographs and mingling with fans.

During Barnett’s playing days, which included 1990-95 with the Eagles, sports betting was restricted to Nevada. At least legally.

Things have changed just a tad since.

Barnett said he is not the betting type. However, he is not one to shy away from talking about his former team.

Many of the NJ futures markets had the Eagles regular-season win total at 9.5.

Barnett did not take the wager, but he did offer this analysis:

“It’s really about everybody staying healthy because I really think they have the tools to go far.”

Will it be easy? Not necessarily.

“I tend to look at everybody else that they’re going to play against,” Barnett said. “So when I look at the league, in general, I think in order for them to be successful they’re going to have to play very hard this year because there are some pretty good teams out there that are stacked up.”

One of the big ifs is whether or not starting quarterback Carson Wentz can make it through the season healthy.

His career to date has included being sidelined with a torn ACL and fractured vertebrae.

Second-string quarterback Nate Sudfeld is out with a broken wrist. Current backup Josh McCown came out of retirement to sign with the Birds.

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How about ’em Eagles

Of course, the Big Game is a topic for later in the season.

The bigger topic for Week 1 was whether or not the Eagles would cover the 10-point spread. It was the biggest on the board.

And coming out flat in the first half created a quiet vibe throughout the massive space. The huge crowd that had gathered at Bally’s sportsbook on Sunday was not prepared for that beginning.

Failing to cover the spread is one thing. Losing to the Redskins at home (20-7 at the half) clearly wouldn’t fly with fans.

A totally different team took the field in the second half.

Philadelphia scored 25 unanswered points. Suddenly, a game that was looking like the biggest upset of Week 1 was now well within reach.

The bettors who took the Eagles minus the points nearly ended up with a winning ticket, too.

That was until Redskins’ Trey Quinn caught a four-yard pass with six seconds on the clock. Eagles 32-27.

One spectator blurted out: “They beat the spread now.”

The Eagles moneyline, however, was a winner.

Next week’s crowd at Bally’s sportsbook will be hanging around much later as the Eagles and Atlanta Falcons don’t kick off until 8:20 p.m.

Call it to the start of much bigger potential plans.

“We would love to host a Super Bowl party here at The Book at Bally’s. That would be incredible,” Hall said.

February can’t come soon enough.