Penn to embed betting functionality in theScore media app

Integration between betting and sports app will begin in Ontario

Penn Entertainment CEO and President Jay Snowden announced at the company’s earnings call on May 2 that theScore will tie theScore Bet‘s betting experience directly into the brand’s media app in Ontario.

Score Media and Gaming first launched theScore Bet in September 2019, two years before Penn completed its acquisition of the Toronto-based company.

Until now, theScore‘s sports news and media app and its betting platform have been kept separate. Users can view latest scores in theScore Bet platform but are taken over to theScore app if they want to see deeper dives into the game, such as team and player stats. In theScore app, odds can be viewed for games but there is no wagering functionality.

However, Snowden told investors that a new integration will allow Ontarian users to both track and place bets in the brand’s original sports app.

“We’ve actually got some really exciting deep integrations that we’re launching over the next month in Ontario,” Snowden said on the earnings call in response to a question from Truist Securities analyst Barry Jonas.

“That would include things like being able to have an embedded bet slip in the media app and being able to track your bets in the media app after you place bets with theScore Bet.”

Snowden added that while the integration will only be introduced for theScore Bet in Ontario for now, the company intends to expand the feature to the U.S. for ESPN Bet.

“[These are] things that we’re going to be doing with ESPN Bet over the coming quarters,” he added. “We’re just not there yet, obviously, in the U.S. but we’re starting to launch those initiatives in Ontario. And it will be exciting to see what the traction is. But it’s very seamless between theScore media and theScore Bet in all of those areas. And that’s obviously the goal between us and ESPN here in the U.S. as well.”

For Snowden and Penn, the evolution is a logical next step in their quest to provide sports fans and bettors with a seamless all-in-one user experience. Snowden noted earlier in the call that sports betting and sports media are “rapidly converging” and sports fans are increasingly looking for a fully integrated sports betting experience.

theScore Bet continues to perform

Penn’s overall Q1 2024 results were not what the company would have been hoping for.

It reported a 3.8% decline in revenue to $1.61 billion USD during Q1 2024, including an 11.1% dip in revenue for the Interactive division that was partly attributed to unfavourable hold on larger sports events. That segment covers all online sports betting and casino across the Penn group, which includes ESPN Bet in the U.S. and theScore Bet in Canada.

However, Snowden said theScore Bet is continuing to perform “really well” in the Ontario market.

While thought to be behind the likes of FanDuel and DraftKings in the province, the sportsbook app is in the low double digits for market share in the province in both online sports betting and online casino.

Penn expected further innovation to fuel growth

Overall, Snowden was bullish when forecasting the rest of Penn’s year. He told investors Penn Interactive is in a strong position to post growth throughout the remainder of 2024.

Despite Penn Interactive reporting EBITDA losses of approximately $196 million USD, the digital arm reported quarterly record handles and gross gaming revenues for both online sports betting and iGaming. The number of active online gaming users also increased by 166%.

Snowden said that more product development will boost the remainder of their year.

“We look forward to unveiling additional product enhancements and unique media integrations with ESPN ahead of the 2024 football season,” Snowden added. “Our improved online product offering will help engage, reactivate and retain our expanding database, while also advancing our strategy to create a highly differentiated experience for sports fans and sports bettors.”

Executive VP of Operations Todd George noted that the company’s Penn Game Studios continues to innovate in Canada. The studio has introduced the likes of the Blue Jays Blackjack game tied into Canada’s MLB franchise.

“It’s really taken off,” he added. “So we’re looking for those types of opportunities as we come to the U.S. And really, this group of folks has created some great products that typically quickly ramp into our top 10, top 5 offerings that we have online.”

To fuel those improvements, Penn has appointed Aaron LaBerge as its new chief technology officer effective in July. LaBerge will be responsible for driving the technology strategy and execution for Penn and will serve as the key business leader for Penn Interactive.

You might also like