Surprise Bid by Bally’s Corp. May Halt WPT Sale to Element Partners

March 8th, 2021 | by Jason Reynolds

A new bidder has made a last-minute move to buy the World Poker Tour (WPT) and its parent company Allied Entertainment for $100 million.

Dover Downs

Bally’s Corporation, owner of Dover Downs, has made a surprise $100 million bid for the WPT. (Image: Pinterest/CasinoGuidesUSA)

It had been previously announced that Allied Entertainment would sell the WPT to Element Partners for $78.25 million.

However, following an unexpected bid from Bally’s Corporation, that deal may be off the table.

Allied Entertainment Confirms Bally’s $100 Million Bid

News of the latest bid broke on March 5. Insider talk had suggested a new player had entered the game.

Allied Entertainment subsequently put out a press release confirming that it had received an unsolicited takeover bid.

The $100 million offer is under review but, at this stage, Allied Entertainment’s Board of Directors “continues to recommend” that stockholders approve the deal with Element Partners.

But if the takeover from Bally’s is going to go through, the Element deal will have to be nixed. Indeed, a condition of the offer is that Bally’s will take over Allied Esports and the WPT.

The last-minute coup is certainly interesting. Until now, everyone, including WPT CEO Adam Pliska, had assumed the sale to Element was a done deal (see video below).

However, a partnership with Bally’s could open up new doors for the tournament organization.

Formerly Twin River Worldwide Holdings, the entertainment company acquired the rights to the Bally’s trademark in 2020.

It now owns 12 casinos and racetracks in seven US states. Although it doesn’t own Bally’s Las Vegas, it does own Bally’s Atlantic City, Dover Downs, and Hard Rock Biloxi, among others.

WPT Could Seize New Opportunities with Bally’s Partnership

The WPT could use Bally’s live venues to host poker events. It could also use Bally’s position in seven US states to launch new online products.

Under state gaming laws, any company wanting an online gaming license must have a local live partner. Bally’s could offer this in New Jersey, Delaware, and other states.

That’s very much in line with the WPT’s current aspirations. Although it was already upping its presence in the digital arena before COVID-19, things were kicked up a level when lockdowns hit.

Unable to host live events, the WPT leant on its online partners. In fact, it continues to come up with new digital tournament series, even as live poker is making a return.

If Bally’s can help the WPT further its ambitions online, it would certainly make the deal more attractive. Of course, there’s also the fact Bally’s is offering almost $12 million more than Element.

There’s clearly a lot for the board to consider right now. But it’s safe to say that the sale to Element Partners is far from a done deal.


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