Moving In: New Owner Taking Over Bally’s Atlantic City

Written By Bill Gelman on November 19, 2020 - Last Updated on December 27, 2020

Bally’s Atlantic City is still connected with Caesars, but the two properties are now separately owned.

Bally’s Corp. (previously known as Twin River Worldwide Holdings) now officially owns the hotel and casino located at Park Place and the Boardwalk.

The announcement was made via press release.

Earlier, this month, the Casino Control Commission approved Bally’s interim casino authorization. A full casino license will come at a later date.

More about Bally’s AC sale

The sale of Bally’s AC — which was announced in April  —completed Wednesday.

VICI and Caesars will split the proceeds from the $25 million transaction.

The focus is now on restoring a brand with a storied history.

George Papanier, president and CEO of Bally’s Corp. commented on the company’s AC plans:

“We strongly believe in the potential of the Atlantic City market and are confident that we can restore Bally’s to its former glory,” said Papanier. “We are pleased to close on this transaction, which represents the latest addition in our ongoing portfolio diversification strategy, and look forward to implementing our capital improvement plans to completely renovate the property with first-in-class amenities and offerings.

“We have a proven track record of implementing strategic initiatives at acquired properties in order to drive growth and revenue improvements, and plan to bring the iconic property to a level not seen in years.”

Bally’s is committed to $90 million in upgrades over the next three years.

Specific projects and timelines will be announced soon. Restaurants, hotel rooms and convention space are among the many areas that will be addressed.

But the new owner is ready to pump new life into the aging facility. At 41 years (on Dec. 29), it’s the third-oldest behind Resorts and Caesars.

FanDuel teaming up with Bally’s AC

At the moment, Bally’s does not have any skin in the NJ sports betting game. This is expected to change before the year comes to a close.

The company is partnering with FanDuel Sportsbook to run its retail sportsbook operation.

The temporary space, which will be located on the casino floor, is targeted for a late 2020 opening.

A permanent FanDuel Sportsbook debut is planned for 2021. Plans call for it to replace the former Blue Martini lounge area located off the casino floor.

And that’s just the retail sports betting plans.

On the mobile side, there are two strategic partnerships:

  •  Esports Entertainment Group
  •  Sporttrade

There are no details regarding potential launch dates.

A Bally’s-branded app, which currently doesn’t exist, is highly likely for the third skin.

Bet.Works + NJ sports betting plans

Receiving the keys to its AC Boardwalk property is just one of the deals Bally’s Corp. announced Wednesday.

The company also has an agreement to acquire Bet.Works, a US-based sports betting platform provider, for $125 million. Bet.Works currently works with operators in New Jersey (theScore Bet), Iowa, Indiana and Colorado.

According to the press release, Bet.Works will provide Bally’s with a suite of advanced omnichannel products, platforms, software and content solutions. And this will enable the operator to “deliver unrivaled sports betting and iGaming offerings to customers on a national scale.”

Here is what Soo Kim, chairman of Bally’s Corporation’s board of directors, has to say about the company’s evolution.

“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.”

Bally’s and Sinclair Broadcasting deal

Wheeling and dealing is the theme of the week. The company also revealed details of a strategic partnership with Sinclair Broadcast Group.

Through this deal, Bally’s will integrate content into the 190 television stations that Sinclair owns, operates or provides services for.

Here are a few key components to the deal:

  • 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 to local audiences.
  • 21 Fox regional sports network brands will be rebranded using the Bally’s name.
  • Bally’s will gain extensive access to Sinclair’s network of local, live sports content as the unified network brand and integrated partner across 21 regional networks.

So Bally’s Atlantic City is a major piece of the puzzle. At the same time, Bally’s Corp. is thinking outside the New Jersey box.

Here in the Garden State, the focus will be on the prime real estate sitting at Park Place and the Boardwalk.

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Bill Gelman

Bill Gelman is a veteran sports writer based just outside of Philadelphia and not too far from the Jersey Shore. Bill spends time in Atlantic City writing about casino openings and expansions, special events and now NJ sports betting and online gambling.

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