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The legal online casino market in the US just keeps getting more crowded. Canadian digital sports media company theScore has announced that it will throw its hat into the ring next year.
The company’s subsidiary, Score Digital Sports Ventures, controls its sports betting activities in the US. At the moment, those operations consist solely of theScore Bet mobile sportsbook app in New Jersey, which is also where it expects to launch its first casino product.
“The addition of an online casino offering to our award-winning and truly differentiated mobile sports betting platform broadens our reach and deepens our strong portfolio of assets,” said John Levy, Founder and CEO of theScore. “This is yet another step towards providing theScore’s media and betting patrons with a completely holistic and tightly integrated media and gaming experience.”
It had to strike a new partnership deal to make that possible, however. Its NJ sportsbook operates in partnership with Monmouth Park Racetrack, which cannot hold a casino license. For its online casino, theScore will partner instead with Twin River Worldwide Holdings.
Unfortunately, that decision means that it can’t launch its casino app immediately. Twin River is in the process of purchasing Bally’s Casino from its current owners, Caesars Entertainment and Vici Properties. With no other presence in the state, Twin River won’t actually hold a license until that deal goes through next year.
TheScore is the second company to strike such a deal with Twin River. Earlier this month, Australian sports betting company PointsBet announced a very similar one. It, too, operates its mobile sportsbook in partnership with Monmouth Park, and will be making its first foray into the online casino space.
The deal locks theScore and Twin River into their relationship for a minimum of ten years. That, too, is the same as the agreement Twin River has with PointsBet.
The contract can be extended for a further five at theScore’s sole discretion, and to a total of twenty with the agreement of both companies. That’s virtually an eternity at the pace the market is developing.
There’s no telling what position theScore will be in ten years from now. Its foray into the US sports betting space has been a mixed bag.
On the one hand, its product has received recognition for its high quality. Earlier this month, it received the award for Best Mobile Sports Betting Experience at the Cynopsis Sports Media Awards. Most of its sports betting customers come by way of its media app, which serves as a low-cost acquisition channel, though converting those users into casino gamblers may be harder.
At the same time, it hasn’t made all that much headway with the general public. Its sportsbook was a late entry to the NJ online casino market in August last year. In its first quarter, it took just $6.7 million in bets, a mere 0.5% of the total for the state.
That said, New Jersey is saturated. All along, it has been the jumping off point for every operator interested in exploring online gambling in the US.
With such a late start and a brand primarily associated with sports, it’s hard to see theScore making a dent in the New Jersey online casino market. Immediate market share may not be the goal, however. New states will open their doors to online casinos in time, and theScore will be looking to develop its product and build its brand in the meantime.