Penn National Sees Initial Success with theScore Bet in the Ontario Sports Betting Market

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Penn National seems pretty pleased with the mark it has been able to make in the Ontario sports betting scene. According to the company, Penn National’s theScore Bet has been able to capture quite a share of the market.

The Ontario sports betting market launched in August 2021 with a provincial run lottery-based app, ProLine+. However, on April 4, 2022, the Ontario sportsbook market opened its doors and expanded to allow for commercial operators. In that short amount of time, theScore Bet has been able to do quite well for itself. The dent is especially good when compared to other launches of Barstool Sportsbook brands and theScore Bet.

In a Q1 earnings call last week, Penn National CEO Jay Snowden spoke at length about the dent theScore Bet has been able to make in the market so far. Penn National’s strategy in the United States has been different from their strategy in Canada.

The strategy for the United States has relied largely on the Barstool personalities when it comes to marketing. So, this means that when a Barstool product announces a launch in a given state, the company will see a good amount of initial growth and engagement, but it then falls off, typically after a couple weeks or so.

However, the same cannot be said for the company’s performance in the Ontario sports betting market. Since theScore Bet went live in Ontario, the company has seen a significant amount of growth continually. This includes first time depositers in the high hundreds as well as thousands of downloads each day. This is all building on the numbers from the first day that were seen at launch.

This is leading many to wonder why the growth is different in the Candadian market versus the United States. Snowden attributed this success to the brand reach and recognition that theScore comes with. He also mentioned the synergy and integration the company has been able to reach between the media and betting apps.

This last point stands to reason as almost 80% of those who wagered on theScore Bet were also users of the media app. The ability to recruit and convert users from the media app to the betting app has proved key to this success, a tactic unique to theScore Bet and Penn National.

The media app allows users to create and add to a bet slip within the media app, making it easier for users to start their bets or quell their interest. Then, when it comes time to deposit money to place the bet and to actually place the bet itself, the media app takes users to the betting app for those final steps. Ownership of the player account management platform by Penn National has allowed the company the ability to do this as well as to control the user’s experience.

In Ontario, theScore Bet uses its own player account management platform and bonusing engine. It also uses a trading engine from Bet.Works. However, in Q3, the company plans to move off of Bet.Works’ trading engine onto a trading platform that is proprietarily owned.

A similar migration will be taking place in Q3 of next year for Bartstool Sportsbook to tech from theScore.

Snowden hopes to replicate the recent success the company has seen in the Ontario sports betting market in the United States. As a result, Bartstool Sportsbook will also be seeing closer ties to theScore app. Snowden hopes this tactic will give Barstool Sportsbook a shot in the arm that the company needs in the U.S. market.

Penn National is also hoping to move into the California sports betting market should sports betting become legalized in the Golden State. The company has made a second contribution of $12.5 million towards the ballot initiative for California sports betting. The ballot initative has seen a good amount of support, with up to 59% of Californians supporting the legalization of sports betting in the state.

Written by Allie Nelson, our US Sports Betting Industry Expert.