TheScore granted online gambling licence in Ontario as operator gears up for hotly anticipated market launch

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TheScore Bet has become one of the first brands to be registered as an online gambling operator by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO).

The brand is the sports betting arm of Canadian media brand theScore Media, which was acquired by US operator Penn National Gaming in October of last year for $2bn.

Subject to regulatory requirements and the execution of an operating agreement with the AGCO’s online subsidiary, iGaming Ontario, the operator plans to go live on 4 April, the first official day of Ontario’s market launch.

Australia-based PointsBet looks set to join theScore as one of Ontario’s first live operators. It was also approved today (4 February) as a licensed sportsbook in the province. Toronto-based Rivalry has also been cleared for launch. 

The AGCO announced earlier this week that Ontario’s online sports betting and iGaming market would launch in April, with rigorous standards of integrity, fairness, player protection and social responsibility required from licensed operators.

Since single-event sports betting was legalised in Canada last year, only the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation’s Proline+ website has been permitted to offer the product to online customers in the province.

Should theScore receive the required regulatory approvals before 4 April, it will be one of the first operators to go live. It is widely considered to be the most recognised sports media brand in Canada. 

“We’re thrilled to be one of the first operators to receive an internet gaming operator certificate of registration from the AGCO as we prepare for Ontario’s new regulated market,” said John Levy, CEO of theScore. 

“We’ve been, and will continue to be, at the forefront as regulated internet gaming is introduced in Ontario and are beyond excited to be able to bring theScore Bet to our home market on 4 April. Finally, the countdown to launch has begun,” he added. 

TheScore Bet was the first prospective operator in Ontario to receive its platform compliance certification from Gaming Labs International, as well as its RG Check iGaming accreditation from Canada’s Responsible Gambling Council.

Penn National Gaming released its 2021 full-year financial report yesterday (3 February), in which the benefits of its Q4 acquisition of theScore were made clear.

It is the number one app for sports content in Ohio, the report said.

Crucially, Penn intends to integrate its Barstool Sportsbook app into theScore’s media app in the second half of 2022 in order to allow for cross-selling and promotion between the two brands. 

It also plans to migrate theScore Bet onto its own proprietary trading platform in Q3 2021, with the Barstool Sportsbook brand following suit in Q3 2023.

“Following this migration, we will begin to realise the immense benefits of a wholly owned and integrated technology stack as we roll off our current third-party platforms, in addition to capital expense reductions as our technology spending rationalises post-migration,” said Penn president and CEO Jay Snowden.

TheScore is currently building a proprietary trading platform and player account management system (PAM) from scratch.

The report said theScore generated record revenue in Q4, 32% ahead of the same period in 2020. 

Overall, theScore grew media revenue 76% annually for the full year 2021. In addition, the brand experienced continued user growth and engagement, with average monthly active users on the media app increasing by 7% year-on-year.

About the author

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Conor Mulheir

Conor entered the gaming industry in 2018 producing high-level live event content for audiences in London, Amsterdam and São Paulo. From 2020, he went on to report news and commission exclusive content for various gaming media brands before joining iGaming NEXT as editor in January 2022.

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