aesars Entertainment and Bally's announced deals Monday with daily fantasy sports providers as they seek to expand their reach and integrate different forms of fan engagement with professional sports into their gambling operations.
Bally’s said it acquired the daily fantasy sports company Monkey Knife Fight in an all-stock transaction that further widens the company’s drive to add casino, online sports betting and media companies. Later in the day, Caesars announced a strategic investment in SuperDraft, a daily fantasy sports company launched in September 2019, with the option to acquire the whole company over time. With the investment, Caesars takes an initial minority equity position with an option to increase its stake over time up to 100% at pre-determined levels.
There has been growing synergy between daily fantasy sports and sports betting, with two of the original dominant fantasy providers, DraftKings and FanDuel, becoming leading sports betting bookmakers in the U.S. Rhode Island-based Bally’s becomes the third U.S. sports betting company to have a daily fantasy sports component, along with DraftKings and FanDuel, as reported by the Associated Press.
In recent months, Bally’s has been adding gambling and media properties as it aims to become a major national player. Bally’s recent moves include the purchase of Bally’s casino in Atlantic City, a media partnership with Sinclair Broadcast Group and its pending acquisition of Bet.Works.
Now the company plans to integrate Monkey Knife Fight’s geographic presence in 37 states, Washington, D.C., and Canada, with Sinclair’s portfolio of 21 regional sports networks. “With this acquisition, we are pleased to enter into the high-growth (daily fantasy sports) market,” said George Papanier, the company’s president and CEO. “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.”
Monkey Knife fight has about 180,000 registered users, 80,000 of whom have made monetary deposits in order to play. Papanier said Monkey Knife Fight will support Bally’s plans to develop a potential customer database in states that have not yet adopted sports betting but which are considered lucrative potential markets, including California, Florida and Texas, as well as in Canada. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2021.
Caesars did not divulge the amount of its investment in SuperDraft, which operates across seven professional sports in more than 35 states. “We’re super excited to be part of Caesars’ powerful gaming ecosystem,” said Steve Wang, CEO and founder of SuperDraft. “Daily fantasy players 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 staying power while broadening its consumer appeal with bigger contests and better rewards to players of all interest levels.”
"The addition of daily fantasy sports fits seamlessly with our strategic vision for mobile and online sports," said Tom Reeg, CEO of Caesars Entertainment, Inc. "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."
As part of the investment, SuperDraft will join Caesars' online brands, World Series of Poker, Caesars Online Casino, and, upon the acquisition's close, William Hill, as part of a full slate of mobile and online gaming channels.
SuperDraft will become a piece of Caesars' single wallet solution, allowing members more options to play both online and in-person, and is expected to be tied to the Caesars Rewards program that will permit players to credits redeemable for rewards and experiences online or at one of Caesars casino resorts nationwide.