The Future of US Sports Betting, Interview with John Levy, CEO at theScore
The phenomenal rise to success of theScore is no secret to the global gaming industry.
From its humble beginnings as a small cable business to the heights of being a market leading gaming operator; innovation and a firm focus on the future has been a core factor in their leadership.
With theScore Bet launching in Colorado last week, we caught up with their CEO, John Levy to hear his thoughts on the future of the North American market and what we can expect to see.
What are some of the latest developments at theScore?
“The most recent development is that we just launched theScore Bet in Colorado, taking our award-winning sportsbook multi-state.
Our team worked around the clock to get theScore Bet live in Colorado in time for football season, and we’re thrilled to roll it out to the passionate sports fans there.
The way we’ve uniquely fused media with gaming delivers a totally unrivalled experience for fans, unlike anything else in market today.
Colorado is a great second state to launch, and we also anticipate going live in Indiana later this summer, subject to regulatory approval.
In other big news, we just secured market access to offer online casino in New Jersey, a product we expect to launch on theScore Bet in the second half of 2021, also subject to regulatory approval.
Our goal is to become a true gaming leader in North America, and we are aggressively pursuing myriad market access opportunities across the country.”
What did you learn when live sports were cancelled, and how is it shaping your products for the future?
“The pause in live sports reinforced the insatiable appetite for sports content that exists.
Without live events, fans sought-out other related content to keep them entertained and connected.
As a result, during that period, we doubled-down on more innovative and interactive content formats on our media platform to maintain engagement as much as possible.
That strategy proved highly successful, as we managed to preserve 75% of our mobile app audience – which was incredible when you consider there were virtually no sports taking place.
We actually saw year-over-year growth on our social media and esports content platforms.
We’ve continued running some of those new content formats to complement our offering now that live sports are largely back.”
What role does alternative sports have to play for the future of the market?
“When major sports leagues and events were cancelled and postponed, we moved fast to stand-up a wide variety of alternative sports on theScore Bet.
Naturally, you want to be as comprehensive as you can in your offering, although we never pretended these would be like-for-like replacements with those sports that had been disrupted.
At the same time, we are also watching the growth of esports betting closely. theScore has an esports content division that has quickly grown to become the leading provider of on-demand video content related to competitive gaming, so this is an area we are tightly monitoring in terms of state regulation and potential future tie-ins with our gaming operations.”
Do you think we’ll see an increase in US sports betting regulation to try and recoup the tax revenue loss from the past few months?
“For sure. Economies have taken a major hit over the past few months and, when that happens, governments have to find a way to replenish the coffers.
One way of doing that is raising taxes, which is never a popular route.
The other is tapping into new revenue sources, and the tax revenue accrued from sports betting is one such method.
As a result, we’re already seeing signs of an increased appetite to fast-track sports betting legislation and we suspect that’ll only become more prevalent.”
Will Canada follow suit with positive changes to regulation?
“We’ve seen a lot of momentum building in Canada.
We have a strong brand footprint here, dating back to our days as a sports TV network, which positions us incredibly well as and when regulations change.
The commissioners of the major North American sports leagues recently voiced their support to legalize single-event wagering at the federal level, and the Ontario provincial government has also put forward proposals to create a legal and competitive framework for online sports betting here.
We’ve been actively involved in the province’s stakeholder consultation process around this and we’ll be ready to give Canadians a best-in-class sports betting experience when the opportunity arises.”
How will the differentiated approach of theScore continue to support the business for the future?
“We decided that when becoming a sportsbook, we were going to build a sustainable and successful gaming operation by executing on our philosophy that betting is part of the overall fan ecosystem.
We entered this space because of the power of our media app audience, something we will continue to leverage as we continue to expand theScore Bet across the United States and, hopefully, Canada.
We won’t be getting into an expensive arms race for quick and, ultimately, unsustainable market share.
We’re perhaps perceived as the underdogs by many, and we don’t mind that tag at all. It was the same when we were competing with some of the biggest names in sports media with our scores and news app. But today we’re a leader there, and in time we believe we’ll hold the same leadership position and prominent market share in gaming by staying true to our approach.”