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State of the Union: Better Collective, Connecticut, Bally’s and more

Insight | Analysis

This week’s State of the Union, in partnership with Segev LLP, includes a number of high-profile mergers and acquisitions, including Better Collective’s deal to acquire the Action Network and Bally’s acquisition of Bet.Works, as well as revenue from Rhode Island and Nevada.

Better Collective closes $240m Action Network acquisition

Better Collective has closed its $240m acquisition of the Action Network, the largest deal in the super-affiliate’s history.

The deal was announced at the start of this month. Of the $240m price, the vast majority will be paid in cash, alongside $11.4m in new Better Collective shares, issued at a price of SEK231.35 per share. Of the cash payment, $10m is deferred.

Connecticut Governor signs sports betting and igaming bill into law

Connecticut’s Governor Ned Lamont has signed into law a bill that will legalize online sports wagering, fantasy sports and other forms of igaming.

House Bill 6451 formalizes agreements made by Lamont with the state’s Mashantucket and Mohegan tribes in March, allowing the tribes to offer sports wagering online and at land-based sportsbooks within the casinos they operate.

Bally’s closes $125m Bet.Works deal

Land-based operator Bally’s Corporation has closed a deal to acquire betting technology provider Bet.Works for $125m (£88.1m/€102.2m).

Bally’s announced the deal to acquire Bet.Works in November 2020, in order to have proprietary access to a sports betting solution. Of the $125m purchase price, half was paid in cash and half in Bally’s stock, which will be deferred for one year.

Bragg acquires Wild Streak Gaming for $30m

B2B igaming technology and content supplier Bragg Gaming Group has announced its acquisition of Las Vegas-based content creation studio Wild Streak Gaming, in a deal worth around $30m.

Wild Streak has a portfolio of 39 casino slot titles supported across online and land-based applications, and also develops content for social casino.

Bally’s shareholders to vote on Gamesys deal at June 30 meeting

Bally’s shareholders are set to vote on a deal to acquire online operator Gamesys at a special shareholders meeting scheduled for June 30.

The boards of Gamesys and Bally’s announced that they had come to an agreement on a £2bn ($2.74bn/€2.31bn) deal in March of this year.

Skillz to acquire esports marketing platform Aarki for $150m

Multi-player gaming operator Skillz has announced its acquisition of mobile marketing company Aarki in a move to create a fully-integrated esports advertising platform.

The deal will see Skillz combine its platform with Aarki’s advertising services and offer advertising across the mobile gaming industry.

BetMGM announces NYRA Bets as first horse racing partner

BetMGM struck a deal that sees the New York Racing Association’s online betting platform NYRA Bets become the operator’s first horse racing partner in the US.

NYRA Bets is available across 30 states, and covers more than 200 horse racing tracks worldwide.

PointsBet brings in Sulsky to support Canadian expansion plans

Sportsbook operator PointsBet has appointed Nic Sulsky as chief commercial officer for its Canadian operations, to support plans to launch its sports betting services in the country.

Sulsky was formerly president of Monkey Knife Fight, the daily fantasy sports operator that was acquired by Bally’s Corporation in January this year.

Penn National Gaming approved to complete Hollywood Perryville acquisition

Penn National Gaming (PNG) has secured final approval from the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission to proceed with its acquisition of the operations of Hollywood Casino Perryville in the US state.

In December, PNG brokered a deal worth $31.1m to purchase the casino’s operations, with this subject to certain customary working capital adjustments.

Nevada records slight dip in gaming revenue for April

Gambling revenue in Nevada was down 2.6% month-on-month, but stayed above the $1bn mark, in April.

Comparisons to April 2020 were not available for the vast majority of verticals, as all gaming establishments in the state were closed because of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

Arizona eyes September 9 start date for sports betting

The Arizona Department of Gaming has set a provisional launch date of September 9 for legal sports betting in the US state, following the passage of a new tribal-state gaming compact.

The US Department of Interior (DoI) last week gave its approval to a bill that formalized an amended compact that set out measures allowing players to bet on sports at tribal casinos and sites owned by major league sports teams in Arizona.

Sports Wagering Advisory Council to assume regulatory powers in Tennessee

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee has signed a bill that will transfer sports wagering regulatory powers in the US state from the Tennessee Education Lottery (TEL) to the Sports Wagering Advisory Council.

Senate Bill 588 was introduced in February by Senator Edward Jackson and went on to pass in the state’s House by a vote of 73-13 in May, before securing final approval in the Senate during the same month in a 27-0 landslide vote.

BetMGM partners NHL legend Gretzky as it eyes Canadian market entry

MGM-Entain joint venture BetMGM has partnered with ice hockey legend Wayne Gretzky, with the four-time Stanley Cup winner becoming a BetMGM brand ambassador, as the business looks into entry to the Canadian market.

Gretzky, widely regarded as the greatest ice hockey player of all time, won the Hart Trophy for the National Hockey League (NHL)’s most valuable player nine times and holds the league record in both goals and assists.

Rhode Island sports betting revenue reaches $3.2m in April

Sports betting revenue in Rhode Island amounted to $3.2m in April, while the US state’s handle reached $29.0m during the month.

Revenue was 11,472.0% higher than the $27,381 generated in the same month last year, but the 2020 figures were severely impacted by novel coronavirus (Covid-19) with players only able to wager via mobile. Wagering options were also limited as the pandemic saw almost all sports events cancelled or postponed.

EveryMatrix announces first US game studio in Miami

Gambling solutions provider EveryMatrix has announced the opening of Armadillo Studios, its first igaming studio investment in the United States.

Armadillo Studios will develop online casino games for EveryMatrix, with an insight on US player patterns and gaming logic.

RI General Assembly approves expanded partnerships with IGT and Bally’s

The Rhode Island General Assembly has voted to approve legislation that will expand the US state’s gaming partnerships with Bally’s Corporation and International Game Technology (IGT).

The Assembly said the legislation, which will now move forward to state Governor Daniel McKee for final sign-off, represents an economic development investment of more than $250m for the state and will preserve Rhode Island’s third-largest source of revenue.