Bally’s Corp. Expects To Spend $25 Million In Atlantic City Despite 2020 Fiscal Woes

Written By David Danzis on March 5, 2021

A decline in fourth-quarter revenues will not slow down Bally’s Corp.’s planned investments at its Atlantic City casino hotel.
During its first earnings call Thursday as Bally’s Corp., executives from the company formerly known as Twin River Worldwide Holdings detailed the fiscal struggles of 2020.

Revenue for the fourth quarter of 2020 fell 9.4% to $118.1 million from $130.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2019.

But, Bally’s executives said plans to invest millions of dollars into the aging Atlantic City Boardwalk casino were still going forward.

“We expect to spend approximately $25 million in the 2021 year,” said Steve Capp, Bally’s chief financial officer.

Bally’s Corp. agreed to spend in Atlantic City

The company finalized the $25 million purchase of Bally’s Atlantic City from Caesars Entertainment Inc., and VICI Properties in November 2020.

Although Bally’s AC had been underperforming for some time, even Capp noted the “bargain purchase,” of the Boardwalk property.

As part of the sale approval and licensure in New Jersey, gaming regulators stipulated capital investment into the 42-year-old casino. Bally’s Corp., agreed to spend no less than $90 million over five years, with a minimum of $75 million in the first three years.

“We continue to execute on our integration and strategic plan for Bally’s AC,” said CEO George Papanier. “On a targeted basis, we are greatly improving the property and customer experience, including a phased hotel room refurbishment and the addition of several new amenities, including new and robust food and beverage offers.”

These things take time

Changes are already happening at Bally’s AC.

A temporary sportsbook opened last year. All nine Atlantic City casinos now take over-the-counter sports wagers.

A permanent FanDuel Sportsbook is under construction and is expected to open soon.

In mid-February, Bally’s AC temporarily closed to implement its player loyalty program. Papanier said the process was “a very complicated methodical decoupling from the legacy Caesars IT systems and Caesars Rewards Program,” which is why the casino hotel closed for almost 30 hours.

New food and beverage options are also on the way. Water Dog Smoke House, a Ventnor-based restaurant that is a favorite among locals, is coming to Bally’s. The restaurant’s owner said a Water Dog concept would be Bally’s main dining destination. The dining and bar space can hold almost 250 patrons.

Bally’s Corp. aims to be ‘national player’

Like all gaming operators, Bally’s Corp., was negatively impacted by the novel coronavirus’ effect on business operations and consumer behaviors in 2020.

But, the one-time regional gaming operator expanded last year and will soon operate 15 casinos in 11 states. The company also made strides to capitalize on the growth of online gambling and sports betting.

The eventual rollout of the Bally Bets brand is expected to happen later this year.

Bally’s inked a media partnership with the Sinclair Broadcast Group, a national leader in regional sports media. Bally’s also acquired Bet.Works, a sports betting platform provider to operators in New Jersey, Iowa, Indiana, and Colorado.

Bally’s made separate deals with Monkey Knife Fight, a gaming platform daily fantasy sports operator; and SportCaller, a free-to-play sports game provider.

Papanier called 2020 “an incredible and transformative year” for the company.

“Through the various partnerships and strategic acquisitions we’ve announced, we’ve continued our evolution from a single-property operator in Rhode Island to a leading national player,” he said.

Photo by AP/Seth Wenig
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David Danzis

David Danzis is an award-winning journalist who has covered business, politics, government, education, and sports in New Jersey. Most recently, he wrote about Atlantic City casinos, online gaming, and sports betting for The Press of Atlantic City. David is a graduate of Rutgers University.

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