Penn Says TheScore Bet Is Crushing It In Ontario Sports Betting

Written By Brad Allen on May 6, 2022
theScore bet

Parent companyPenn National says theScore Bet is killing it in Canada so far.

Penn held its Q1 earnings call Thursday and said the Ontario sports betting launch compared “very favorably” to other launches its theScore Bet and Barstool Sportsbook brands.

Unprecedented demand

CEO Jay Snowden went into more detail:

“In the US, we are relying organically on Barstool personalities for marketing. And when they announce we are live in a state, you see an influx. That is the bulk of what you get in the first two weeks.

“And then you see it fall off a bit quicker. But in Ontario, every day since launch, we are seeing significant activity. High hundreds of first time depositors and thousands of downloads every single day, all incremental to the first day.”

Source: Penn Q1 earnings presentation

What is driving theScore success?

Snowden said signups were driven by the brand reach of theScore and the “seamless integration” between the media app and betting app.

Nearly 80% of theScore Bet bettors also used the media app.

“We didn’t know what to expect, but we have been very pleased in our ability to penetrate and convert people from media to betting app,” Snowden said.

“You can populate your bet slip, do everything in the media app, then when you are ready, it takes you over to the betting app to deposit and place the bet. Owning the PAM [player account management platform] helps us do all that. We control the entirety of that experience and roadmap.”

Tech evolution

TheScore Bet in Ontario currently uses its own PAM and bonusing engine and a Bet.Works trading engine.

It will migrate off Bet.Works onto a proprietary trading platform in Q3.

Barstool Sportsbook will make a similar transition to theScore tech in Q3 next year.

Ready for battle?

Snowden was asked about the product itself and how it compared to gray market giants like bet365.

The exec urged analysts to get up to Canada to try it out.

“It’s probably worth a trip for you to get up there and see it,” Snowden said. “Some in Ontario will have been betting with bet365 for a long time and will continue to do so. But I am confident if they download, deposit and bet with us, they will continue to come back to us.”

Slower progress in the US?

As for US sports betting, Barstool Sportsbook will also be tied more closely to theScore app to replicate the integration success in Ontario.

“There’s a lot of value doing that integration with Barstool in the second half of this year,” Snowden said. “That should be a nice shot in the arm for our business in the US.”

Snowden said Barstool Sportsbook was gaining share in states that measured net gaming revenue (essentially stripping out bonuses.)

Source: Penn Q1 results presentation

“We score a lot higher in NGR,” Snowden added. “Handle doesn’t pay bills. NGR you can start to pay the bills so that’s all we care about. You should expect the market to become more rational and to see less buying of business.

“Those spend levels from the competition have to come down or no one will make money. And as those spend levels come down, the best product and consumer experience will win and we feel very good about that.”

Disciplined approach paying off?

The overall Interactive business posted $142 million in revenue for the quarter and a $10 million EBITDA loss.

That loss compared very favorably to the $500 million loss over at Caesars.

California dreaming

Elsewhere, Penn said it will make a second contribution of $12.5 million towards the California sports betting ballot initiative.

Penn public affairs SVP Eric Schippers offered an optimistic update on the effort.

“We are pretty confident in the strength of our polling which shows 59% support the ballot initiative,” Schippers said.

Penn stock was last down 3% to $37.on Thursday.

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Brad Allen

Brad has been covering the online gambling industry in Europe and the US for more than four years, most recently as the news editor at EGR Global.

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