Knowing theScore is Knowing When to Say Goodbye

With theScore Bet poised to leave the American market July 1, it seems the US sportsbook boom is losing steam.

The decision by its owners Penn National Gaming to pull theScore from the states of New Jersey, Colorado, Indiana and Iowa could be seen as rationalisation because they also run the Barstool Sportsbook vertical.

But the move follows a slow-down in sports betting revenue in many US territories in recent months.

Premier US sportsbooks, such as BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook and WynnBet, have scaled back their marketing spend in the past year.

And in February Churchill Downs, the company named for the famous racetrack which holds the Kentucky Derby, shut down its own online casino and sportsbook.

Penn National bought theScore for US$2.1 billion last year (£1.72bn/€2bn), while they acquired 36 per cent of Barstool in 2020 for some US$160 million (£131.2m/€153.1m).

According to a Penn National press release, the company will now return-focus theScore on the vertical’s Canadian home market, where it has long been the nation’s most popular sports betting app.

Given home advantage, theScore has been doing particularly well in Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, which fully regulated online sports betting in April with much fanfare.

Currently live in a dozen states, including the four states theScore is vacating, Barstool, meanwhile, will lead Penn’s sportsbook offering in the US.

“Since Penn’s acquisition of theScore, the company’s plan has been to lead with Barstool Sportsbook in the US and theScore Bet in Canada, given our strong brand equity there,” said theScore President and COO Benjie Levy.

“With theScore Bet launched and thriving in Ontario, and as we approach a major undertaking this summer with the launch of our proprietary risk and trading service, the timing is right to focus our US efforts on marketing Barstool Sportsbook and our Canadian efforts on marketing theScore Bet.

“This move enables us to maximize the value of both brands through our organic media and gaming approach.”

Nevertheless, stressed Levy, “theScore’s powerful sports media platform [will be integrated] with Barstool Sportsbook, supported by our in-house technology, [which] will strengthen the overall US product offering and broaden its reach.”

TheScore Bet will stop accepting wagers this week, June 15. Bets on events completed before July 1 will remain active.

In April, theScore had a miniscule one per cent market share of sportsbetting in Indiana.

And in Iowa, during the same month, Barstool and theScore combined for a meagre five per cent share of the action.

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