Bally’s Prepares for Wide Sports Betting Legalization with MKF Purchase

Bally’s Corporation’s purchase of daily fantasy provider Monkey Knife Fight positions itself to capitalize on sports betting as states across the government legalize wagers.

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Bally’s Corporation is expanding its sports betting operations by purchasing Monkey Knife Fight for $90 million in stock. (Image: CBS Philly)

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Bally’s Corporation is expanding its sports betting operations by purchasing Monkey Knife Fight for $90 million in stock. (Image: CBS Philly)

The company announced the purchase of the third largest DFS operator in the U.S. on Tuesday for $90 million in stock. The deal is expected to close this quarter.

Monkey Knife Fight Carves Out its DFS Space

While DraftKings is the undisputed DFS leader in the U.S., with FanDuel clearly in second, MKF has carved out its own niche in the market. It operates differently than the market leaders – rather than use a salary cap to pick a roster of players and try to score more points than other users, players on MKF pick a game and made decisions about a series of props.

The NFL and its players’ association agreed to a partnership with MKF in October, choosing the company over DraftKings and FanDuel. MKF has also partnered with various sports franchises to be exclusive partners, such as the MLB’s Milwaukee Brewers, OnlineGambling previously reported.

In announcing the deal, Bally’s noted that MKF has a presence in 37 states, Washington, D.C. and Canada. Founded in 2018, San-Jose based MKF boasts 180,000 registered users.

Bally’s Readies for the Sports Betting Boom

Motley Fool pointed out that MKF has been actively trying to grow its user base in high population states like California, Florida, and Texas in hopes of converting many of them into digital sports gamblers in anticipation of those jurisdictions legalizing sports betting.

MKF CEO Bill Asher said last summer that the company was putting itself in “a unique position in these states to run a profitable fantasy sports site, while readying ourselves for gambling.”

George Papanier, Bally’s president and CEO, said his company would incorporate MKF’s services into its portfolio of 11 casinos, as well as its online betting platforms. Bally’s also plans to roll out new content for customers of MKF, SportsPro reported.

Bally’s recently agreed to buy sports betting platform provider BetWorks for $125 million, shortly after partnering with Sinclair Broadcast Group in a $85 million deal for naming rights to the company’s 21 regional sports networks. The soon-to-be dubbed Bally Sports will lead to the “further gamification of live sports,” Bally’s said.

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