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Canadian Sports Betting Firm Preparing for War with DraftKings and Others
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Canadian Sports Betting Firm Preparing for War with DraftKings and Others
Single-game sports betting is very much likely to become a legal activity in Canada. And while that’s great news in general, with the big-name brands of DraftKings, FanDuel and William Hill Plc ready to pounce on it, things could get nasty.
Of course, this could also be due to the fact that a legion of sports betting fans have taken to using an app crafted by a father-son entrepreneurial team. That app – theScore – has become one of the most popular in operation within North America.
Once Canada unveiled the legislation in November last year that would legalise single-event sports betting, shares in the Toronto-based Score Media and Gaming Inc. went through the roof. In fact, it finished 2020 with an increase of 111%, while the first three trading days of 2021 saw it jump up another 17%.
And now, the CEO of the brand John Levy, and his son, COO Benjie Levy, are hoping that they can replicate that sports betting service in their home country. It already serves states like Colorado, Indiana and the state of New Jersey, where it has gathered its current legion of fans.
Amongst the number of free sports apps in Canada, theScore is one of the most actively used, and as of January 6 this year, it was ranked at number one on the Google Play Store. According to tracking firm SimilarWeb, around four million daily active users make use of theScore, and more than 1.4 million can be found within Ontario specifically.
As it happens, the Score Media company has its origins in television. It possessed a cable channel which went by the name of The Score, and this aired a range of highlights and events, which went beyond hockey (one of Canada’s biggest sports). On that channel, segments like ‘Cabbie on the Street’ proved to be a big hit with viewers. This saw the television personality Cabral Richards go about interviewing a variety of sports stars, such as the late Kobe Bryant.
However, it did find itself trailing behind two much more well-established Canadian sports networks. That’s when the CEO of Score Media chose to shift their focus towards digital assets instead. The TV licence was sold along with all related assets back in 2012, with Rogers Communications Inc. picking it up for CAD $167 million.
Sports Betting Gaining in Popularity
It is the case that sports betting has now been made legal in 20 U.S. states, as well as in the District of Columbia. Of those, 14 accounted for $13 billion in wagers in 2019, with figures coming from Bloomberg Intelligence. Where Canada is concerned, legal sports betting is currently limited to parlay wagers via provincial platforms (other than legal horse racing betting in some provinces).
Canadian bettors spend roughly CAD $10 billion each year on single-event betting through illegal bookies instead. Meanwhile, another CAD $4 billion is wagered each year via international sports betting platforms, according to Justice Minister David Lametti.
It is because of this that Canadian officials are now attracted to the tax revenue possibilities associated with legal sports betting. According to the American Gaming Association, online sports wagering in the United States generated $160 million in taxes in 2019. And when you throw in revenue from those states with legal online casinos as well, that is only inflated.
It is with that in mind that if full legalisation of single-event sports betting is introduced in Canada, expert analysts believe it could fetch $4 billion in revenue. While the legalisation bill is yet to pass through Canada’s parliament, it has a lot of backing behind it.
However, theScore may have a much bigger battle on its hands to obtain extra recognition. Bigger companies like DraftKings, which has a market value of over $19 billion following a huge increase of more than 300% in its shares last year, provides quite the competition. In comparison, Score Media has a market value of just $600 million.
Of course, the company could look at takeover submissions from larger companies to enhance its status, but that would be up to CEO John Levy. He owns 100% of a special class of voting shares, giving him total control of the board and a veto over any sort of deal he does not like.
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