BallyBet announced that on June 30, it’s shutting down for a “few months” while switching to a new software platform powered by Kambi. The company notes that Arizona will not be affected, but BallyBet will not be available in Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, New York, and Virginia.
Since June 22, Bally’s is no longer accepting wagers and deposits. Users must withdraw any money from their accounts before the shutdown on June 30. For any users that haven’t done so, BallyBet will send physical checks.
The timeline of the shutdown is unknown, but experts believe that a relaunch must occur before the start of the NFL season on Sept. 7. If they fail to do so, BallyBet would risk losing even more market share. BallyBet also risks losing customers because most users must create a new account.
However, the company hopes to gain more users with new software than before the shutdown. In addition, once the Kambi-backed app and site are up and running, BallyBet might finally pursue launches in Ohio and Massachusetts. It has already received licenses in those states.
While a shutdown might not have been expected, switching to a new technology platform is something Bally’s planned to do. It’s part of the company’s effort to improve the sportsbook and make it more competitive.
The move continues a busy year for Bally’s. The company has made changes to upper management, expanded its online casino, and kept busy with retail expansion.
Bally’s Aims To Make BallyBet More Competitive
In February, Bally’s reported $425 million in losses for 2022, including a $390 million write-down for its North American Interactive Division. The division included BallyBet, Bally’s Online Casino, and the Monkey Knife Fight daily fantasy sports website. The write-down was primarily due to the devaluation of BallyBet’s Bet.Works platform and Monkey Knife Fight. The latter was shut down at the end of February.
Bally’s then-incoming CEO Robeson Reeves said the company would look for a new platform provider and make BallyBet more competitive.
Reeves delivered on his promise, and with the Q1 results, Bally’s announced partnerships with Kambi and White Hat Gaming. As part of the partnerships, Kambi would provide the platform for BallyBet, while White Hat would offer an improved player account management system.
A better-performing BallyBet is needed if the company wants to gain market share. In New York, the largest sports betting market, the sportsbook had a $2.2 million handle. Compared to the roughly half a billion that market leaders FanDuel and DraftKings take in, that’s microscopic.
In Indiana, some retail sportsbooks generate more handle than BallyBet. And the latest figures in Arizona show that the sportsbook had a handle of just over $167,000 in May.
Bally’s Online Casino Is Performing Well
While BallyBet’s performance is underwhelming, the company’s online casino has outperformed expectations.
After Q1 results were released, Reeves said that the online Bally Casino has over 4% market share in New Jersey and is on course to reach the company’s goal of 6%-8%. He added that Bally’s expected to launch its online casino in Pennsylvania. That occurred shortly after Bally’s entered the Keystone State with a soft launch on June 8.
The company is also expected to enter Rhode Island at the beginning of 2024. On June 20, Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee signed the iGaming bill into law.
The bill names Bally’s as the sole operator, giving the company a monopoly similar to Delaware. While a monopoly model is questionable in its effectiveness and ability to generate revenue, it will provide Bally’s with more presence in the online casino segment.
In addition to these states, Bally’s operates an online casino in Ontario, Canada.
Amid Executive Changes, Bally’s Plans Retail Expansion
A series of upper management changes accompanied Bally’s Q1 results. That included new CFO Marcus Glover and Charles Daio as Bally’s new Senior Vice President of Finance and Corporate Treasurer. It also included the creation of a new Operational Integrity Committee headed by Jaymin B. Patel, Vice President of Bally’s Board of Directors.
The company also announced a partnership with Major League Baseball’s Oakland A’s, which are planning a move to Las Vegas. Under the deal, Bally’s will provide nine acres of the Tropicana Las Vegas to the A’s for a new ballpark. On the remaining 17 acres, Bally’s would build a new hotel and casino.
Meanwhile, the company’s ongoing major project, Bally’s Chicago, has made several steps toward opening in recent months.
In May, Bally’s and the Chicago Tribune reached a deal for the newspaper to vacate the future casino site by June 2024. Bally’s then received a significant boost in its effort to open a temporary casino until the permanent one opens in 2026. On June 15, the Illinois Gaming Board granted preliminary suitability for the temporary casino.
Bally’s is also in the running for one of three highly sought-after downstate New York casino licenses. The company’s proposed Bronx location is one of 11 in the running, but it might be a longshot.
Expectations are that two existing racinos in Yonkers and Queens might be frontrunners, something New York State Gaming Commission chairman Brian O’Dwyer has denied.