Twin River Buys Bally’s Brand from Caesars for $20 Million, Will Rename Most TRWH Casinos

Posted on: October 13, 2020, 10:30h. 

Last updated on: October 13, 2020, 11:34h.

Twin River Worldwide Holdings (NYSE:TRWH) said today it’s acquiring the iconic Bally’s brand from Caesars Entertainment (NASDAQ:CZR). The move that could resuscitate a name once synonymous with a bygone era in gaming.

Bally's brand sold
Bally’s on the Las Vegas Strip. The brand is being sold to Twin River. (Image: YouTube)

In a statement, TRWH didn’t disclose the financial terms of the purchase. But in an interview with the New York Post, Soo Kim said the operator of Rhode Island’s two casinos is paying $20 million for rights to the Bally’s mark. Kim is the founder of Standard General, the hedge fund that controls 38 percent of TRWH equity.

As part of the deal, Twin River has agreed to provide Caesars Entertainment a perpetual license to use the Bally’s brand at its existing Bally’s Las Vegas Hotel & Casino property,” according to the press release.

In April, TRWH said it’s paying $25 million to acquire Bally’s on the Atlantic City Boardwalk, a move that’s part of a broader deal in which the operator is purchasing three venues from Caesars for just $180 million combined.

Bally’s New Look

TRWH said it plans to “rebrand virtually all of its portfolio properties under the Bally’s name and logo.” Kim told the Post that the company, perhaps as soon as this week, will switch its stock ticker from “TRWH” to something more in line with the Bally’s name.

Twin River’s purchase of the Bally’s brand and plans for that mark going forward could turn it from afterthought to a marquee gaming name. The Rhode Island-based operator currently owns nine casinos in five states. But with pending deals, including a recently announced Illinois acquisition, its portfolio will increase to 13 gaming venues in nine states.

Of TRWH’s existing properties, only the Hard Rock in Biloxi, Miss. carries a well-known brand. At some point in the near future, the number of US casinos bearing the Bally’s name will multiply significantly. Today, there are just two — the aforementioned Atlantic City and Las Vegas properties.

Kim adds that plans are in place to debut a sports betting website under the Bally’s brand, something that could carry some cache in New Jersey. The state has the largest sports wagering market in the country.

Rich History, Hard Times

On the Las Vegas Strip, the venue now known as Bally’s opened in 1973 as the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino. It took its current name in 1986 when it was sold to Bally Manufacturing for $594 million.

Hilton Hotels acquired Bally Entertainment in 1995, and the former’s gaming business was spun off in 2003, becoming one of the older iterations of Caesars. In 2005, Harrah’s Entertainment purchased Caesars, acquiring Bally’s Las Vegas in the process.

The brand has an even deeper history in New Jersey, opening as Bally’s Park Place in 1979. At one point, it was the highest-grossing casino on the Boardwalk. But over time, Caesars failed to invest in the venue, allowing it to languish.

After Eldorado Resorts revealed a $17.3 billion takeover offer for Caesars in June 2019, rumors regarding Bally’s fate circulated, including talk of a possible closure. The buyer, which now controls Caesars, put that speculation to rest to allay regulators’ concerns about potential job losses, opting instead to sell the venue to Twin River.