Twin River completes acquisition of Bally's brand for $20 million, rebranding of properties underway

Twin River Acquisition Of Bally’s Closes Faster Than Expected: Could New NJ Online Casinos Come Equally Quickly?

Twin River is flowing swiftly when it comes to taking over the Bally’s brand and hopefully breathing new life into it. Finalization of the former’s plans to acquire the latter happened very quickly. This may signal an aggressive timeline for other aspects of the deal.

For fans of online casinos in New Jersey, what this could mean is the arrival of up to three new competitors in the market. While nothing is official yet, the cards seem to be falling that way.

The latest on the Twin River rebranding to Bally’s

On Monday, the companies announced that the financial aspect of the deal was complete. There are still more steps to go to complete Twin River’s transformation, but there’s already movement on that front. It has, for instance, already changed its stock ticker symbol to BALY and committed $90 million to upgrading the eponymous Bally’s Casino in Atlantic City.

It’s a great example of the domino effect in the gambling industry, in which a move by one company precipitates a series of other deals. Earlier this year, NJ regulators required Caesars to unload Bally’s Atlantic City as a condition for the company’s takeover by Eldorado Resorts.

Twin River emerged as an interested candidate. Those negotiations soon swelled to include the entire Bally’s brand, not just the AC casino.

In much the same way that the former Eldorado took on Caesars’ name following that acquisition, Twin River is now Bally’s. The company plans to rebrand most of its brick-and-mortar casinos throughout the country while working to revitalize the Bally’s brand. The investment in Bally’s Atlantic City is just the start of that.

Online expansion is another facet of the new future for Bally’s. Prior to closing the deal, Twin River declared its intent to launch a Bally’s Sportsbook for mobile. In New Jersey, that will presumably include a Bally’s Online Casino as well. Two more will follow, from existing NJ sportsbooks that signed partnership agreements with Twin River to give themselves access to the casino market once the deal closed.

So what does that mean for online casinos in NJ?

The new Bally’s hasn’t disclosed any new information on how quickly it expects these online casinos to launch. The two sportsbooks in question are Australia’s PointsBet and theScore, a Canadian sportsbook.

Both of those operators have existing partnerships in the Garden State, with Meadowlands and Monmouth Park respectively. As racetracks, however, those partners can only provide market access for sports betting.

Caesars wasn’t interested in launching iGaming under the Bally’s license. That’s because it was already active in the space through its other property, the Borgata. The Twin River deal will therefore open a new door for PointsBet and theScore, but the question is how fast.

On the one hand, the new company could end up prioritizing the rebranding and upgrading of its retail properties. Depending on how much of its resources that takes up, online expansion could wind up on the back burner.

On the other hand, there’s no particular reason to believe Bally’s couldn’t walk and chew gum at the same time. If it’s as swift to launch online gambling as it was to close the deal, New Jersey online casino fans could see one, two, or all three of these new options in very short order.

Especially when it comes to PointsBet and theScore, there’s little upside to Bally’s in delaying its launch more than necessary. Aside from its license application, most of the effort to launch those online casinos will be on the operators’ side. Bally’s will probably want to see them off the ground and paying it a cut of their revenue as soon as possible.

- Derek Helling is a lead writer for PlayUSA and the manager of BetHer. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.
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