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Bally’s buys fantasy sports site Monkey Knife Fight in US$90m deal

MKF’s services to be integrated across gambling operator’s 11 casinos and online betting platforms.

26 January 2021 Sam Carp

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  • Bally’s joins FanDuel and DraftKings as third US sports betting firm with fantasy offering
  • MKF, which is active in 37 states, ranked as third largest daily fantasy sports company with 180,000 registered users
  • Meanwhile, Caesars Entertainment makes strategic investment in SuperDraft

Casino and gambling operator Bally’s Corporation is buying daily fantasy sports company Monkey Knife Fight (MKF) in an all-stock deal worth up to US$90 million.

As part of the transaction, MKF will immediately receive excercisable warrants to purchase approximately US$50 million in Bally’s stock, as well as the right to buy another US$40 million over the next two years.

The deal, which is expected to close in the first quarter of this year, makes Bally’s only the third sports betting company in the US to have a fantasy sports segment alongside FanDuel and DraftKings.

Founded in 2018, MKF is ranked as the third largest daily fantasy sports company and claims some 180,000 registered users. The San Jose-based business is active in 37 states, meaning it will enable Bally’s to acquire customers and build a database in states where sports betting is not yet legal.

George Papanier, president and chief executive of Bally’s, said in a statement that the company will be incorporating MKF’s services into its portfolio of 11 casinos and its online betting platforms, while the pair will also work together to develop new content for MKF customers.

Bally’s described the acquisition of MKF as ‘the latest step’ in the company’s ambition to become ‘the first truly integrated sports betting and iGaming company in the US with a B2B2C business model.’ 

The deal comes after Bally’s entered a definitive agreement to buy sports betting platform provider Bet.Works and its proprietary technology stack for US$125 million. That was followed by a long-term partnership with Sinclair Broadcast Group, which included naming rights to the media giant’s 21 regional sports networks (RSNs).

Elsewhere, casino company Caesars Entertainment has made a strategic investment in SuperDraft, another daily fantasy sports platform. Caesars will initially take a minority equity position in the New Hampshire-based company, with an option to increase its stake over time up to 100 per cent.

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