Bally Bet Aims for Q2 Launch in New York

Bally Bet, one of the nine mobile sportsbooks currently licensed in New York, says it plans to launch in the state by the end of Q2 (April 1-June 30). 

Bally’s CEO Lee Fenton announced those intentions during Bally’s first-quarter earnings call on Thursday. The delay in launch is partially due to an update to its mobile sports betting platform that wasn’t finalized until May 4. 

“We launched in Arizona yesterday with our foundational 2.0 product and New York will follow later this quarter,” Fenton said. “This is a significant milestone for us and represents a huge effort by the team, and I’m proud of all the work that’s been done to bring our technology stacks together.”

If Bally Bet New York does stick to its target, all nine of New York’s licensed sportsbooks will be up and running by the end of June.

Why Did Bally Bet Take So Long To Launch?

Bally Bet is the last of New York’s licensed sportsbooks to launch. The “Big Four” — DraftKings, FanDuel, Caesars, and BetMGM – all launched in January.

So, what’s the holdup? According to Fenton, the main reason for the delay has been its focus on updating its sports betting platform. 

But Bally’s leadership also pointed to the heated competition for users and the immense amount of money other sportsbooks funneled into promotions around their launch in the state.

Back in January, Bally’s chairman Soo Kim said Bally Bet would not launch until the spring. Kim told CNBC that the company was not interested in competing in the “insane” promotional environment that surrounded the January launch of the “big four” sportsbooks. 

Kim said Bally Bet would focus on a more long-term sustainable plan focused on their product over free promotions

“We think that actually, the current version of sports betting is not a great business,” Kim said. “It’s a fine business, it’s not a great business… I think people will stop competing with just free money, but people will start competing with product.”

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Bally Bet’s Foundational 2.0 Mobile Sports Betting Platform

Bally Bet made a series of acquisitions in 2021 to help strengthen its mobile wagering product. 

Acquisitions included the betting platform Bet.Works, daily fantasy sports operator Monkey Knife Fight, free-to-play game provider SportCaller, and betting technology platform Gamesys.

These acquisitions were crucial for Bally’s new 2.0 gaming platform set to launch in New York.

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Bally’s Long-Term Plan

In January, Standard General, the New York Hedge Fund run by Kim, bid to take Bally private at $38 a share. 

The board announced this week that it decided to pass on the offer, in a sign that it feels confident about Bally’s future.

The sportsbook launched its new platform in Arizona on May 4 and plans to launch in several other states soon. According to Fenton, Bally’s plan is to continue their long-game approach.

“In New York, we will be cautious as we keep a keen eye on marketing spend and how to navigate a high-tax environment in sports betting,” Fenton said.

Bally also signed a partnership with the Cleveland Browns last week, which gave market access to Ohio and expanded its market access footprint to 18 states.

Fenton said that the company’s focus will depend on which markets offer opportunities to open online casino gaming in addition to mobile sports betting. New York is considering a bill to legalize online casinos.

About the Author

Hannah Vanbiber

Hannah Vanbiber is an LSU fan by birth, Cavaliers fan by marriage, and Mets fan by choice. She started her journalism career in Chattanooga, Tennessee, as a reporter covering local sports, entertainment, and business in the East Tennessee area. She was the leading editor for the launch of a new sports magazine brand by Chattanooga’s CityScope Magazine. Hannah moved to New York City in 2013 and started writing freelance for several clients including newspapers, magazines, and corporate brands. She also joined the nonprofit world and spent eight years working in fundraising, most recently as the Director of Volunteers at New York City’s oldest homeless services organization. She is now a full-time freelance writer, editor, and reporter, covering women’s sports and sports betting in the New York metropolitan area. Hannah lives in Manhattan with her husband, Ben Wagner, whose loyalty to LeBron James knows no bounds.

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