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.”
Why Did Bally Bet Take So Long To Launch?
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.