Bally’s ‘disappointed’ at shifting UK timeline amid US growth ambitions


Bally’s has stressed disappointment “that the timeline keeps shifting out” for the delivery of the UK’s gambling review white paper, as the group elaborated on its expansion strategy across the US, including its anticipated New York launch. 

Speaking on an earnings call following publication of the group’s Q4 and FY financials performance, Lee Fenton, Bally’s CEO, voiced a belief that the group is “well-positioned for potential changes that might come through the review”.

In addition, despite acknowledging that predictions of potential outcomes are pure guesswork, Fenton notes it “will most likely consolidate share in the launch of players, and see smaller players exit the market.”

Adding: “Indeed, we actually saw someone exit the market earlier this week, and hand back their license in the UK. So we feel disappointed that the timeline keeps shifting out, but we’re expecting to see a white paper in May and typically, then, that would be 90 days consultation around that white paper. 

“And then it would depend whether it needs an act of parliament to enact anything in that white paper, as to when it could have an impact on the market. If it doesn’t need an act, it could be in by Q4 or Q1 of ’23, if it needs an act it’s probably mid to second half of 2023.”

Naturally, New York formed a key topic of the range addressed during the earnings report, with Bally’s again asserting that it will “launch when the product is right” and that it is prepared to “match short-term gains to build long-term trust and value with our customers”.

With an array of operators already live after the Empire State took online and mobile sports betting live last month, Bally’s has long assured that it is prepared to bide its time until its product is at its optimum.

“We believe in customer centricity driven by great service, great data, and great analytics,” Fenton added. “We did not mean to be first to market with an inferior product, customers will always have choices and your first impression is more important than timing of launch.”

Furthermore, Fenton adds that the company has concentrated its North American interactive focus on “building full betting products that is US centric and easy-to-use for the mass market,” rather than participate in “continued irrational spending”.

With no big advertising splash expected to take place, Bally’s says that it “won’t think about our marketing in New York much differently, other than obviously with an eye on the margin because of the tax rate, than we will elsewhere”.

Furthermore, despite not having a physical appearance within region, Fenton comments that the group does “actually have a fair database of New York players,” with its Atlantic City database said to contain as many address in NY as it does in New Jersey.

Elsewhere, Bally’s confirms that it has accelerated efforts to go live in the Ontario igaming market, where it expects to launch during this coming summer, with additional US state launches through the second half of the year also eyed.