Bally Ho, Gamesys On; Alpha Players Poised for £2bn Merger

In a bid to dominate American iGaming, the world’s fastest-growing online betting market, which could soon be worth an astonishing US$45 billion a year (£31.7bn/€36.9bn), traditional stateside heavy hitter Bally’s and the UK’s cutting-edge Gamesys are only one small step away from completing a mega-merger.

Gamesys shareholders are now set to meet on June 30 in London to bless a proposed £2 billion marriage dowry (US$2.83bn/€2.32bn) between Bally’s—owners of 12 US casino and racetrack properties—and the pioneering UK online maestro; owner of bingo-led Jackpotjoy, Virgin Games and Monopoly Casino, among other top brands.

Under terms already agreed by the two company boards in March, Bally’s will offer Gamesys shareholders £18.50 a share (US$26.25/€21.53) or a trade of three Gamesys shares for each new Bally’s share.

Lee Fenton, Chief Executive of Gamesys, which recorded revenue of £727.7 million in 2020 (US$1.03bn/€847.14bn), would become boss of the combined group, while George Papanier, Bally’s Chief Executive, would oversee all traditional bricks-and-mortar action.

Founded in 2004, Bally’s is based in Rhode Island, while Gamesys is headquartered in Piccadilly, the heart of London.

Bally’s seem determined to dominate the booming US sports and online gambling market. Industry analysts predict the sector could be worth US$45 billion at maturity.

Earlier this year Bally’s acquired Bet.Works, a sports betting platform with operations in Colorado, Indiana, Iowa and New Jersey, for US$125 million (£88.08m/€102.54m).

“The online gambling and sports betting sector in the US continues to exhibit many characteristics that are structurally attractive with a steep anticipated growth trajectory,”

Bally’s board said in a statement. “[We] believe that a combination of both proven developed technology and land-based platforms across key US states, with global brands, existing customer bases and complementary product offerings will be key to taking advantage of these growth opportunities.”

The Bally’s-Gamesys tie-up is anchored by a US$500 million commitment (£352.32m/€410.05m) from Gaming and Leisure Properties (GLPI), an investment and property trust, and bridging loans totalling £1.44 billion from Deutsche Bank, Barclays Bank and Goldman Sachs (US$2.04bn/€1.67bn).

“After more than two decades honing our craft in online gaming, this combination would give all at Gamesys an opportunity to fully leverage the technology, product and know-how we have developed in what will become the largest regulated online gambling market in the world,” said Gamesys chief Lee Fenton.

Undoubtedly, this is gaming synergy at its mutual best.

As for Bally’s competitors, who may not be so enamoured of the Omni-channel turned omnivore, they’d be well advised to bring a gun if they’re planning to do battle with the owners of Monkey Knife Fight.

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