Monkey Knife Fight Shuts Down, Further Shrinking CA Betting Options

Written By Dan Holmes on February 28, 2023 - Last Updated on June 23, 2023
Monkey Knife Fight shuts down, further shrinking CA betting options,

Monkey Knife Fight, the most popular daily fantasy sports app beyond DraftKings and FanDuel, closed down Tuesday, the company announced via social media. The DFS app is no longer available for download in California, where it provided one of the few methods for residents of that state to perform actions similar to sports betting.

The news comes after parent company Bally’s Entertainment announced earlier this month that it would seek a buyer for the MKF product. On Feb. 13, Bally’s revealed in an earnings report that it experienced a loss of $425.5 million in 2022.

Any withdrawals in process will be completed, according to MKF. And any ongoing prop bets or fantasy contests will be completed and honored.

READ MORE: Rundown Of Fantasy Sports Betting In California

The rapid rise of Monkey Knife Fight

Monkey Knife Fight launched in 2018 as a daily fantasy sports app. It quickly became popular due to its entertaining interface and contests. It used prizes and contest rules to offer prop bet-like odds on the NBA, NHL, MLB, NFL and more.

MKF had been a DFS partner with the Los Angeles Chargers, San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants. The NFL Players Association has held an equity stake in the company since 2020.

At the time of its shuttering, the MKF app was available in 37 states, Washington, DC, and Canada. Because it complied with fantasy sports regulations, MKF was not restricted in most states that did or do not currently have legalized sports betting.

Monkey Knife Fight’s interface looked much like that of a sportsbook. And, with prop-based fantasy contests, it sure felt a lot like a real-money sportsbook for players in states without legal sports betting, such as California.

NEXT UP? When California Might Legalize Sports Betting

Why Monkey Knife Fight is shutting down

The spread of legal sports betting apps and the emergence of competitors like Fliff may have proven to be too much of a challenge for the company. It once boasted as many as 180,000 users. It was purchased just over two years ago by Bally’s, which saw the product as a way to enhance its online gaming portfolio.

At the time, MKF was called the “fastest-growing gaming platform and third-largest daily fantasy sports operator in North America.” 

Displaying the playful attitude the brand became known for during its run, MKF responded to a query about data integrity in the wake of their closure with a sarcastic tweet:

“We’ve got the team from TikTok handling our data. They assure us it’s all good. THAT’S A JOKE. They didn’t assure us of that at all.”

A rags to riches to rags story

The demise of the app completes a rags to riches to rags story.

In 2019, Monkey Knife Fight won Fantasy Sports Operator of the Year at the American Gambling Awards. In 2020, EGaming Review named Monkey Knife Fight their Fantasy Sports Operator of the Year. Bill Asher founded the app, and he sold it in 2021 to Bally’s for a reported $90 million.

At the time of the sale to Bally’s, MKF was the third-largest DFS operator behind DraftKings and FanDuel.

LOOKING AHEAD: Gauging If Sports Betting Will Be On The CA Ballot In 2024

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Dan Holmes

Dan Holmes is a contributor for PlayCA with plenty of experience under his belt. Dan has written three books about sports and previously worked for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Major League Baseball. He also has extensive experience covering the launch of sports betting in other states, including Ohio, Massachusetts and Maryland. Currently, Dan is residing in Michigan with his family.

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