Sports media company theScore, best known for its mobile app connecting fans with breaking news and scores, confirmed this week it is preparing to launch an online sportsbook in New Jersey next year.

A press release issued on Tuesday explains theScore has secured a licensing agreement with Monmouth Park operator Darby Development, which manages the park on behalf of the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association (NJTHA).

The agreement with Darby and the NJTHA gives theScore access to the New Jersey sports betting market through the Monmouth Park license, provided theScore receives all licenses and approvals from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE) and the New Jersey Racing Commission (NJRC).

If all goes well, theScore plans to launch an online betting app in New Jersey in mid-2019. theScore has also established a new website at theScore.bet for fans to sign up for updates on the new sportsbook as it prepares for launch.

Under the agreement, Darby Development will provide theScore access to the NJ market through the sports betting license held by Monmouth Park and the NJTHA. In return, Darby Development will receive a portion of the revenue generated by the new online sportsbook.

The agreement is set to run for an initial five-year term, with theScore having the option to extend the agreement for two more five-year periods to potentially make this a 15-year partnership. theScore will also work with sports betting services provider Bet.Works to manage its online and mobile platforms.

Here’s theScore founder and CEO John Levy on the news:

“This is a significant moment for theScore, becoming the first media company in North American to announce its plans to launch online and mobile sports betting in the United States. Sports betting has long been part of our company DNA in how we’ve delivered content to fans. Providing the ability to actually bet on games is natural next phase for theScore.

“With the rapid growth of mobile and in-game wagering, we are perfectly positioned to deliver a unique and amazing sports betting experience. Our large and engaged app audience spans every single U.S. state and highly indexes with sports betting enthusiasts. We can’t wait to bring a sports betting product to market and capitalize on this exciting opportunity in New Jersey and other regulated states.”

theScore Well-Positioned to Capitalize on Sports Betting

Moving into sports betting seems to be a smart move for theScore, which already has a very large, very engaged audience that aligns perfectly with the sports betting target market. In its press release, theScore notes that it is “one of the most popular multi-sport news and data apps in North America, serving millions of fans a month.”

What’s more, theScore has also catered to sports betting fans for a very long time with updates and scoring results that include information such as the point total, spread and current moneyline odds.

The New Jersey sports betting market is already growing competitive, but theScore brings with it the advantage of a large database of customers that it can directly market to from day one. That database will give the new sportsbook a leg-up as it seeks to carve out its place in New Jersey and other states as legislation is introduced across the country.

John Levy told Forbes this week that the company has long eyed a run on the US sports betting market pending legalization.

“We’ve been looking at this and studying this for a whole bunch of years,” he told Forbes. “This is not something that just sort of happened and we said ‘Hey, we should get into this.’ This is in our DNA. Our user base across the states is huge and highly engaged.”

theScore originally launched in Toronto as a sports broadcasting network that served content to as many as 6.6 million homes in Canada. theScore sold off its television assets in 2012 to focus on its web and mobile platform, which is now well-positioned to enter the online betting business.

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