Penn Interactive Top Exec Steps Down, TheScore COO Jumps In

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Penn Interactive

Jon Kaplowitz has left his role as head of Penn Interactive (PI) after nearly four years in the job.

Kaplowitz announced his departure on LinkedIn last week, with staff informed last month via a note from Penn National CEO Jay Snowden.

Bittersweet departure

Kaplowitz wrote on LinkedIn:

After nearly four years of riding the great sports betting/media wave and helping to create incredible growth for the business, I have decided to leave Penn Interactive.

“It’s bittersweet as I will miss all the people that I have worked with and learned so much from, but I can’t wait to spend some more quality time with my family and my very-soon-to-be-born son number 2.

“Building and leading PI has been the singular best experience in my professional career, and it was made even better by working with an incredible team and partners.”

Transition period for Penn

Kaplowitz joined Penn in 2019 and oversaw the growth of the business from 40 to 500 staff.

He told LSR he had achieved “everything he set out to do” at Penn. But would he consider a return to sports betting and igaming in a different role?

“I don’t know,” Kaplowitz told LSR. “I love the industry, it’s an amazing industry. But at this point, it’s more about taking some time off, chilling with my family, reassessing and seeing what’s out there. 

He added: “I couldn’t be more happy with the decision. But obviously I’m going to miss it because I love this stuff.”

Succession plan for PI

Kaplowitz will be replaced at PI by Benjie Levy. Levy is currently COO at theScore, which Penn acquired in August 2021.  He will continue to help run theScore as well.

“Fortunately we didn’t have to look too far to find the perfect individual to fill the role,” Snowden told staff. “With our acquisition of theScore last year we inherited one of the digital sports media and gaming industry’s brightest stars in Benjie Levy.

“I know Benjie is excited to pick up the baton and continue to build upon Jon’s legacy at PI.”

Chain of command

Levy will split his time between Ontario and PI’s headquarters in Philadelphia. He will report to Todd George, Penn’s EVP of operations.

As part of the reshuffle, George will take ownership of both online and retail operations. 

That shift will help “fully leverage the power of our omni-channel strategy,” Snowden wrote.

Dual-brand approach

Penn Interactive is currently running a dual-brand strategy, with Barstool Sportsbook in US sports betting and theScore Bet in Canada.

Barstool Sportsbook has a ~5% share of net gaming revenue in markets that report that number:

Meanwhile, theScore brand enjoyed a hot start to Ontario sports betting, the company said at its Q1 results.

Challenges ahead

Levy steps in ahead of a major tech project this summer, as Penn migrates theScore Bet from a Bet.Works trading engine to its own risk and trading platform.

Barstool Sportsbook will then make a similar transition from Kambi and White Hat to the proprietary tech in Q3 next year.