Bally’s Corporation to Buy Gamesys for £2 Billion, Plans to Launch US Online Gaming Products

Bally’s Corporation looks set to buy British online gaming company Gamesys just one week after making a play for the World Poker Tour.

Bally’s

Bally’s Corporation has made a £2 billion bid for Gamesys in an effort to capitalize on the evolving US online gaming market. (Image: Yogonet)

The proposed takeover will see Bally’s pay £18.50 per share, which equates to £2 billion ($2.7 billion). At this stage, it’s an agreement in principle that has to be approved by Gamesys shareholders before the acquisition can begin.

Members of both boards believe the deal will help their joint aspirations within the evolving US online betting and gaming market.

Bally’s Corporation banking on Gamesys’ digital assets

As is often the case with takeovers of this nature, there are various financial permutations that could facilitate the takeover. Share options and an all-cash takeover have been proposed, with the Gamesys board preferring the latter.

Beyond all of the technicalities, the fundamental aspect of the proposal is that Bally’s would take control of Gamesys and its network of online assets.

Gamesys was founded in 2001 and is listed on the London Stock Exchange. It owns a number of casino and bingo brands that are popular in Europe and Asia, including Virgin Games and Jackpotjoy. The British software and gaming company also has a footing in the US as the online partner of New Jersey’s Tropicana Casino.

Should the deal with Bally’s Corporation go through, the intention from both sides is to launch more US sites.

“Gamesys’ proven technology platform and the market access that Bally’s provides should allow the combined group to capitalize on the significant growth opportunities in the US sports betting and online markets,” said Bally’s Chairman Soo Kim.

There are clear benefits to the takeover for both companies. Gamesys gets a partner that owns a racetrack and a network of 12 casinos across seven US states. In return, Bally’s gets access to an established online gaming company that owns a network of sites and creates its own software.

Future implications for the WPT and poker

There may also be wider benefits for online poker players as Bally’s recently made a surprise bid for the WPT.

It was assumed that the tournament organization was being sold to Element Partners as per a deal agreed in early 2021. Then, Bally’s swooped in at the last minute and, following discussions between board members, the WPT’s current owner, Allied Entertainment, agreed to the new offer.

At the time, it wasn’t clear what Bally’s intention was, other than taking control of a longstanding poker brand. Now, however, the company’s latest takeover bid offers a clue as to how the WPT may fit into the bigger picture.

“Bally’s believes that interactive gaming, including mobile sports betting and iGaming, represents a significant strategic opportunity for its future growth,” reads Bally’s SEC filing.

There is certainly scope for Bally’s Corporation to use the WPT’s live poker assets. However, there may be additional opportunities online.

WPT CEO Adam Pliska has been working to expand the company’s digital presence in recent years. COVID-19 restrictions sped up this process in 2020, with the WPT hosting a series of online events in conjunction with Partypoker.

This, combined with Bally’s digital aspirations, could lead to new online poker products. Thus, while Bally’s takeover of Gamesys is significant for the industry as a whole, it also opens up some interesting possibilities for US poker players.

Written by
Daniel Smyth
Dan Smyth is a poker media journeyman who politely reminds CardsChat readers that poker is played all around the world, not just America.

Comments

Alex wrote...

I enjoyed the news article, thank you.
I just noticed that you have a misleading picture of Caesars-owned Bally’s Casino in Las Vegas. Bally’s Corp doesn’t own that property.

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