Taking aim at the digital sports betting sector as legalization spreads across the country, casino company Bally's Corporation (BALY -3.90%) today announced its acquisition of fantasy sports operator Monkey Knife Fight. The company says the acquisition "makes Bally's just the third sports betting company in the U.S. to have a fantasy sports segment," with a closing scheduled for this quarter.
Monkey Knife Fight is a fantasy sports gaming company that brings a mobile gaming platform and a user database in both America and Canada to the deal. The NFL and its players' association inked a partnership with Monkey Knife Fight back in October 2020, in preference over partnering with the two other major fantasy sports companies, DraftKings (DKNG -3.08%) or FanDuel, subsidiary of Flutter Entertainment (PDYP.Y -1.23%), according to U.S. Betting Report.
Bally's also mentions "MKF's expansive geographic presence, which spans 37 states, the District of Columbia, and Canada" as a driver behind its acquisition decision. Last July, Monkey Knife Fight said it was actively building fantasy sports user numbers in California, Florida, and Texas with the goal of converting many of those users into digital sports gamblers once legalization occurs in those states.
Monkey's CEO Bill Asher said his company is developing "a unique position in these states to run a profitable fantasy sports site, while readying ourselves for gambling," Sportico reports, a strategic plan Bally's now says it is inheriting through the acquisition.
The all-stock acquisition values Monkey Knife Fight at approximately $90 million. Bally's has also recently acquired Bet.works for $125 million, giving it a ready-made sports betting app, and with television sports network Sinclair Broadcasting as other elements of its rapid push into the profitable digital sportsbook sector.