After a lethargic start to life in the legal New York sports betting precinct, Bally Bet cut its losses last summer to relaunch several months later with a much-improved product. The brand’s performance since may yet justify its approach.
December 2023 was the first full reporting month for the ‘new’ Bally Bet after starting over in mid-November. In New York, the Bally Bet sportsbook took a total dollars wagered number up almost three-fold compared to May, the final complete month before its v.1 offering was pulled.
Throughout 2023, Bally Bet never threatened to make much of a mark in the New York betting industry. Bally’s weekly market share only reached a peak of a fifth of a percent (0.2%) once and that was in the week ending 23 April.
Consistently, Bally Bet was the smallest sportsbook in the state and the future looked to be a trudge of “more of the same”. But suddenly there’s a spark of life for the sportsbook that probably looked destined to depart the Empire State (and wider US) betting world.
Whilst acknowledging it’s still seriously early days for the new look Bally Bet, signs lately are encouraging.
Bally Bet hit an all-time market share of 0.5 per cent for the week ending January 21. That’s still a tiny number in reality, but it is over double Bally Bet’s previous best.
That recent market share was achieved from a total handle of $2,230,584 for the seven-day period, a figure significantly higher than previous performances.
Of course any hint of a Bally Bet resurgence is completely dwarfed by the market leaders. Bally’s dollars taken compares with a handle of $216,135,339 for FanDuel, now consistently the top of New York’s biggest sportsbooks. The difference is vast.
It did mean though, that for the first time since launching in March 2022, Bally Bet moved ahead of Resorts World Bet and WynnBet who both posted the same proportion of all dollars wagered in the state (0.4%) for the week quoted above.
Since legalization in January 2022, the New York sportsbook industry settled into an established pattern throughout last year. The top-tier betting operators continue to dominate. No brand has shown much sign of threatening FanDuel and DraftKings at the top.
BetMGM remains the leading contender to compete with that pair. The joint venture between MGM and Entain has unveiled a series of impressive and innovative initiatives of late but its market share is still stuck meandering around a stubborn six per cent or thereabouts.
It may be a while yet before BetMGM’s refreshed strategy starts to pay off.
Caesars is the other betting site in New York’s “big four” but like BetMGM its share just hasn’t budged much beyond 10 percent for some time.
Of the rest, Bet Rivers remains the one to watch as it still shows signs of growth with the potential for more to come, albeit failing to consistently deliver momentum week-on-week. How Fanatics will fare when it finally rebrands its Points Bet asset finally receives regulatory approval remains to be seen.
Interestingly, what could either concern or offer a chink of light for the smallest books - WynnBet, Resorts World Bet and Bally Bet - is the looming prospect of ESPN Bet redoubling its efforts to enter New York.
The only realistic medium-term way in for the PENN Entertainment brand bearing the name of one of the world’s biggest sports broadcasters is to gobble up another legal operator in the state, acquire its license and launch an assault on New York.
Out there somewhere too is Bet365. Whether the UK-based global betting giant has plans for the Empire State, no one can know other than the Coates family who owns it - recently announced as Great Britain’s third highest tax payers.
While betting news outlets and indeed the mainstream media continue to scream of the New York betting boom, delving into what lies beneath the headlines reveals a whole interrelated web of intriguing shenanigans in the making. And there’s a whole lot more to come. Few will be betting on just what the next shake will be though.