Why It’s Worth It For theScore To Launch Online Casino Product In New Jersey

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The name is as generic as it comes — theScore.com — but a Canadian company has gained a wide American audience with an intuitive product that offers a personalized platform of live scores, news, and statistics.

So when the U.S. Supreme Court in May 2018 voided a 26-year-old federal law and thus left it it open to any state to legalize sports betting, theScore took the opportunity to cut a deal with Monmouth Park racetrack in New Jersey. After all, plenty of its sports fanatic audience figured to be ripe for a gambling amenity to the service.

Approval for the betting app came last summer, and theScore also announced an agreement with Penn National — the largest regional operator in North America — to offer mobile sports betting and online casino gaming in nearly a dozen states down the road.

Mobile sports betting launched in New Jersey in June 2018, and daily fantasy sports giants DraftKings and FanDuel have dominated the marketplace. European bookmaker William Hill has a major deal with CBS Sports, and PointsBet recently announced a similar partnership with NBC Sports.

So if theScore — even with a platform of millions of sports enthusiasts — barely registers on the crowded New Jersey mobile sports betting landscape of 18 competitors, why has it just announced a deal to operate online casino gaming in the state?

Countless rivals in NJ space

Golden Nugget dominates an even more crowded landscape in the state that features a whopping 33 rivals.

And while theScore was a year late to the Garden State mobile sports betting game, its deal with Twin River — soon to be the owner of Bally’s casino on the Boardwalk in Atlantic City — isn’t expected to produce a finished product until “the second half of 2021.” That will put it up to eight years behind its oldest New Jersey online casino gaming rivals — and without a built-in customer base that it has with sports bettors.

“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,” John Levy, founder and CEO of theScore, said in a statement. “This is yet another step towards providing theScore’s media and betting patrons with a completely holistic and tightly integrated media and gaming experience.”

According to theScore, Twin River will receive a percentage of revenue derived from theScore’s online casino operations in the state, subject to certain annual minimum guaranteed amounts, an upfront fee, and renewal fees. The agreement is for an initial term of 10 years, extendable by a five-year renewal term at theScore’s option, with a further five-year renewal term upon mutual agreement of the parties.

Where is theScore headed next?

TheScore is working on adding sports betting in Colorado and Indiana, and more online casino gaming also no doubt is in the company’s future.

The rationale for launching in a seemingly impenetrable New Jersey iCasino landscape is simple. The state’s regulators have long been known as the gold standard for stringent approval standards — all the way back to 1977, when then-Gov. Brendan Byrne warned organized crime members: “Keep your filthy hands off Atlantic City and keep the hell out of our state!”

So with an expected “hall pass” from New Jersey regulators for iGaming, the process of being approved in numerous other U.S. states figures to go far more smoothly.

TheScore just two weeks ago was chosen as the “Best Online Mobile Sports Betting Experience” at the Cynopsis Sports Media Awards event. BetMGM by Roar Digital and FOX Bet were the honorable mentions.

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John Brennan

John Brennan has covered NJ and NY sports business and gaming since 2002 and was a Pulitzer Prize Finalist in 2008, while reporting for The Bergen County Record.

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