Penn National Sets Sights on North American Betting Expansion With $2bn theScore Acquisition

  • Penn National has agreed to acquire theScore for approximately $2bn in cash and stock
  • theScore CEO John Levy believes both parties share a vision and will create a powerful company
  • theScore has launched in a number of states across the US through its Penn National partnership
  • Penn National will focus in part on Canada, which has just legalized single-event betting
Penn National logo on computer through magnifying glass
Penn National has secured a deal to acquire sportsbook operator theScore for approximately $2bn as it eyes a North American betting expansion. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Two companies, one vision

US-based gambling operator Penn National Gaming has its sights firmly set on a sports betting expansion, inking a deal to acquire sportsbook operator Score Media and Gaming (theScore) for approximately $2bn.

theScore took to Twitter to confirm news of the agreement on Thursday:

Through the transaction, shareholders of theScore will receive $17 in cash for each of their shares in the company, in addition to 0.2398 shares of Penn National common stock. The board of directors of both companies have unanimously approved the deal, expected to be completed in Q1 2022.

the most powerful media and gaming company in North America”

Commenting on the agreement, theScore chairman and CEO John Levy said both companies “share a vision for how media and gaming intersect.” He affirmed that the acquisition would create “the most powerful media and gaming company in North America.”

Building a North American empire

According to Penn National president and CEO Jay Snowden, theScore’s sports app is already the most popular in Canada and the third most popular in all of North America. Both companies have shared a strategic partnership since 2019 through which theScore has launched in multiple states across the US.

Most recently, theScore launched its Iowa sportsbook through its multi-state Penn National deal in February this year. After that launch, theScore Bet app is now live in four states, including Colorado, Indiana, and New Jersey. The operator plans to launch its mobile sportsbook in Illinois in the second half of 2021.

In his statement released Thursday, Snowden said his company’s combination with theScore will allow Penn National to create “the most powerful ecosystem of sports, gaming and media in North America.” He also noted the benefits of theScore’s in-house technology development, saying it will lead to savings on third party costs.

A Canadian betting focus

Penn National has also affirmed its commitment to the Canadian market where it sees a “compelling opportunity for growth.” The company said it will operate theScore as a stand-alone business there, utilizing the app that customers across the country “have come to trust.”

only recently legalized single-event sports betting

Added to this, there is an important reason for Penn National’s interest in the Canadian market. The country only recently legalized single-event sports betting, allowing citizens to wager on individual games for the first time in history. Prior to the passing of C-218, Canadians could only place parlay bets which had to include at least three events.

theScore described the passing of C-218 as a “historic moment for Canada” in a Twitter post in June:

theScore has estimated that annual gross revenue for online gaming in Canada could reach between $3.8bn and $5.4bn with the legalization of single-event wagering.