Bally to acquire Israeli online-gaming company

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Richard Haddrill, CEO of Bally Technologies, poses by a Michael Jackson-themed slot machine Monday, March 5, 2012.

In his first big move since retaking the helm of Bally Technologies a few weeks ago, CEO Dick Haddrill is buying an Israeli online-gaming firm.

Bally, a Las Vegas slot-machine maker, said today it reached a deal to acquire Dragonplay for up to $100 million in cash and stock.

The sale is expected to close next month.

Dragonplay, with 700,000 daily active users, was founded in 2010 and offers online poker games, bingo and slots. Customers spend real money to play but do not gamble, similar to DoubleDown Interactive, according to Bally spokesman Mike Trask.

Bally competitor International Game Technology bought DoubleDown in early 2012, in a deal then valued at up to $500 million.

Dragonplay, based in Tel Aviv, earns the majority of its revenue from cellphones and tablets, and it “has proven remarkable foresight and leadership in the mobile space, which is the fastest growing segment of social gaming,” Haddrill said in a news release.

Haddrill, who was Bally’s chief executive from 2004 to 2012, became CEO again May 23. He replaced the man who replaced him — Ramesh Srinivasan, who was top boss for less than a year and a half.

When Bally announced the abrupt shakeup last month, Haddrill said the company was “performing well” but was doing a “strategic review” in the wake of last year’s $1.4 billion purchase of local casino supplier Shfl Entertainment.

As a result, the board ousted Srinivasan from the CEO’s seat. Haddrill, with little elaboration, said in part that what the board wants in a chief executive today is different than when Srinivasan took charge.