theScore has secured online sports betting access in Illinois through a deal with Caesars Entertainment, partnering with Harrah’s Joliet Hotel & Casino. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
Entry into a new state
Toronto-based Score Media and Gaming Inc. (“theScore”) announced on Monday that it now has online sports betting market access in Illinois after entering into a partnership with Caesars Entertainment’s Harrah’s Joliet Hotel & Casino.
With the deal, the hope is that theScore Bet mobile sportsbook will be able to launch during the second half of 2021. The operator will need to obtain relevant permissions and licenses from the Illinois Gaming Board before launch.
ten-year term, with theScore having an option to renew it for another decade
As part of this agreement, Caesars will get a revenue share from theScore Bet’s operations in Illinois. The contract terms include specific minimum guarantee amounts that Caesars will receive on an annual basis. theScore will also reimburse Caesars for licensing fees and other costs associated with launching a sportsbook in the state. Starting off, this partnership agreement has a ten-year term, with theScore having an option to renew it for another decade.
theScore CEO and chairman John Levy noted that this market access deal is significant as it will bring the sportsbook to one of the most populated states in the country. Speaking about the partnership, he said: “Caesars is a giant in the casino-entertainment industry and we’re thrilled to have reached this agreement to extend theScore Bet’s footprint into another key new market.”
Sports betting market in Illinois
Out of the 25 states that have legalized sports betting to date, Illinois has the second largest population with over 12.6 million residents. The only state with a bigger population and legal sports betting is Pennsylvania. It is no wonder why theScore sees Illinois as being an attractive market.
While Illinois is still behind Pennsylvania, Nevada, and New Jersey in terms of monthly sports betting handle, it is catching up. As the market matures, it expects to have one of the largest betting handle totals in the nation. Illinois recorded a record monthly handle of $581.5m in January, with revenue reaching $47.9m.
Expansion plans across North America
Currently, theScore has mobile sportsbooks up and running in four states: Iowa, Indiana, Colorado, and New Jersey. It has plans to further its reach across the United States, leveraging the popular theScore sports media app.
In addition to the burgeoning US market, theScore is hoping that Canadian lawmakers legalize single-event sports betting in the near future. A bill is making progress in the Canadian legislature that would remove the restriction of only being allowed to place parlay bets within the regulated sports betting sector.
theScore CEO John Levy has commented on the active legislation a number of times in recent months. He believes that theScore would be in the pole position to take advantage of a legal market in Canada. The operator estimates that a fully legal online gaming market in Canada could generate up to US$5.4bn worth of annual gross gaming revenue.