theScore plots New Jersey sports betting launch


thescore-new-jersey-sports-bettingNew Jersey sports betting hopefuls grew by one on Tuesday while state regulators spanked two sportsbooks for offering wagers on prohibited college football games.

On Tuesday, Toronto-based digital media company theScore announced that it had struck a sports betting deal via a licensing partnership with Darby Development LLC, operator of New Jersey’s Monmouth Park Racetrack, and the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association.

Assuming the parties secure the necessary approval from the Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) and the New Jersey Racing Commission, theScore hopes to launch its local sports betting platform in “mid-2019” via a mobile app and website.

theScore, which provides sports scores, data and news to 4m active users via multiple platforms across North America, has long been planning a transition into offering sports wagers. Three years ago, theScore launched QuickDraft, a free-play fantasy sports product that offered cash prizes to top performers.

theScore’s new betting product will be powered by US-based iGaming and sportsbook tech startup Bet.Works (US) LLC, whose CEO David Wang is a former Wynn Resorts VP who helped oversee the casino operator’s mobile sports betting and social casino operations.

theScore marks the first pure media company to have declared its sports betting intentions, although it surely won’t be the last. In November, The Stars Group’s CEO stated that his company was hoping to find a “strategic media partner” for its US betting expansion, similar to what the company’s SkyBet brand has accomplished in the UK.

Meanwhile, the DGE just announced financial penalties against Caesars Entertainment and the Golden Nugget casino for offering sports betting markets on college football games involving New Jersey teams, in violation of the state’s betting legislation, which omitted local college sports in a bid to placate the betting-phobic NCAA.

In the Caesars case, the Caesars Atlantic City casino sportsbook took wagers on a Rutgers v. Kansas game in September. The DGE imposed a civil penalty of $2k on Caesars for the cockup.

The Golden Nugget allowed 10 unknown individuals to place a total of $390 worth of wagers on “various New Jersey college football games” in September. These wagers were cancelled ahead of resolution, but the money couldn’t be refunded due to the lack of information on the individual bettors. The DGE ordered the Nugget to forfeit the $390.

Neither of the rulings indicated quite how the two sportsbooks became confused as to their ability to legally offer betting markets on the college games.