Element Deal Nixed, Bally’s to Buy WPT for $90 Million

Element Partners won’t be the World Poker Tour’s (WPT) new owner following a last-minute move by Bally’s Corporation.

The WPT

Allied Entertainment, parent company of the WPT, has agreed to sell the poker tour to Bally’s Corporation for $90 million. (Image: WPT)

The seemingly simple deal between Element and the WPT became unexpectedly complicated on March 5 when Bally’s came to the table with a bid.

The $100 million offer was not only more lucrative than Element’s ($78.25 million), it presented more potential opportunities. That’s something the executives at the WPT’s parent company, Allied Entertainment, couldn’t ignore.

Superior proposal gets it done

An announcement published by Allied Entertainment on March 16 confirmed that the board had accepted a “superior proposal” from Bally’s.

In turn, that means the deal with Element has been terminated. However, it’s not the end of the heads-up battle for control of the WPT.

Element has until 17:00 PT on March 19 to make a better offer. Whether the growth equity fund will exercise this option isn’t clear at this stage.

We know Element has a history of investing in what it describes as “established high-growth companies.” Moreover, it has managed $1.2 billion in capital commitments since 1995. Therefore, it’s unlikely that money is an issue. What Element can’t match, however, is Bally’s experience in the gaming industry.

Twin River Worldwide Holdings acquired the rights to the Bally’s casino trademark in 2020. Since then, it’s been known as Bally’s Corporation. It doesn’t own Bally’s Casino in Las Vegas, but it does own 12 casinos and racetracks across the US. In contrast, Element Partners doesn’t own any betting or gaming venues.

Bally’s offers WPT growth opportunities

That fact alone gives Bally’s the edge, particularly because WPT CEO Adam Pliska wants to expand the poker tour’s reach.

Bally’s could unlock doors in seven US states, both with its brick-and-mortar venues, and by helping to obtain online gaming licenses.

It’s also worth noting that Bally’s is paying more for the WPT. Per Allied’s announcement, the final bid was $90 million in cash, not the $100 million initially offered.

That’s because, after consideration, Bally’s decided not to buy Allied Esports. Instead, it will only purchase the WPT and leave Allied Entertainment with its eSports company.

Although Allied Entertainment has accepted the superior offer, it’s not a done deal. Even if Element doesn’t make counter-offer, nothing is confirmed until money changes hands.

“There can be no assurance that [Allied Entertainment] will enter into a definitive agreement with Bally’s or consummate any transaction with Bally’s,” reads Allied Entertainment’s press release.

Given that Bally’s is offering $90 million in cash, plus potential added value in other areas, the odds are that the WPT will have a new owner in the coming weeks.

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.

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