Stop us if you’ve heard this before: Another online casino is coming to New Jersey. This time, it’s theScore Bet casino, thanks to Bally’s new owners.
If you’re keeping score of how many online casino options there are in New Jersey, you’re probably on the verge of losing count. And TheScore Bet Casino will soon be added to the myriad companies offering online versions of slots and table games.
There’s no exact launch date yet, but it will be another way for theScore Bet to try to snag a chunk of the millions of dollars gambled online in NJ each year.
Twin River Worldwide Holdings, which will provide NJ online casino access for theScore, has other matters to attend to first.
Details on theScore Bet online casino’s NJ entry
For the company, this will be a maiden voyage into the US online casino industry, with the intent to launch in the second half of 2021. The brand already operates an online sportsbook in NJ and intends to do the same in Colorado and Indiana.
Securing the deal with Twin River is a preliminary regulatory step for theScore. The Canadian company still has to receive licensure from the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement before it can take its casino product live in the state.
That’s not an issue for Twin River, however. It has its own business to attend to as far as the Garden State goes right now.
As part of the state’s regulatory approval of the recent Caesars-Eldorado merger, that company has to finalize its sale of Bally’s Atlantic City. Twin River is the buyer in that transaction.
Until that transaction is complete, Twin River can’t launch NJ online gambling verticals under its master license anyway. That gives theScore plenty of time to get its other ducks lined up.
A press release denotes that the agreement between the two companies spans the next decade. There isn’t much information about what games the casino will offer when it launches, however.
TheScore online casino better bring its A-game
To compete for a share of the NJ iGaming market, theScore Bet can’t offer an inferior product. The company is aware that standing out from the crowd will be important.
And it’s a big crowd, with 24 online casino apps and growing.
“The addition of an online casino offering to our award-winning and truly differentiated mobile sports betting platform broadens our reach and deepens our strong portfolio of assets,” said John Levy, founder and CEO of theScore.
“This is yet another step toward providing theScore’s media and betting patrons with a completely holistic and tightly integrated media and gaming experience.”
TheScore’s Atlantic City casino partner feels the same way. A statement points toward a key component of a successful online casino product.
“We are excited to partner with theScore and to provide our Atlantic City guests with a highly personalized iGaming experience,” said George Papanier, president and CEO of Twin River Worldwide Holdings.
Winning a big slice of the NJ online casino market share requires that personalized touch that Papanier referred to. It also requires a big menu of games that the provider constantly refreshes to keep players engaged.
And it wouldn’t hurt to back up those games with a rotating list of bonus offers and promotions.
TheScore Bet casino app likely has the technology to provide that experience, and it says it wants to start doing so late next year.
By that time, Twin River and Bally’s should have everything lined up for launch.
For Week 2 of NFL season, we take a closer look at PointsBet, BetMGM and the newcomer theScore Bet and what NJ online sportsbook specials they have on tap.
It was great to see the NFL back and in full force last weekend.
As always, reflecting on the results yields questions that may not be resolved in Week 2 if not much later in the season.
In any case, here are some of my top-line thoughts:
Are the Patriots this good?
Are the Dolphins this bad?
Who are the ClevelandBrowns?
Is ToddGurley 100%?
Why were the Texans playing a “Prevent Defense” up 1 point with 40 seconds left to play?
As we dive into Week 2, it’s always important to not overreact to what happened during Week 1.
That’s the puzzle within sports betting to determine the myths versus reality. Forming an opinion on a game, a team, or a trend based on doing your homework is essential and placing and cashing a wager on your homework is a great feeling.
For all in NewJersey, there’s plenty of betting hub options.
Several NJ sportsbooks raced to refresh their apps before the start of the NFL season, including BetMGM, Borgata, and WilliamHill.
In fact, there are enough apps for a New Jersey bettor to use a different one each week of the NFL regular season.
As I will do each week, this column will highlight up to three New Jersey sportsbooks and take a closer look at the promos, props, and specials that you should be aware of heading into the weekend’s football action.
For Week 2, I am looking at PointsBet, BetMGM, and theScore Bet.
Plenty of options at PointsBet
PointsBet made headlines Week 1 when a bettor used the points betting option to accrue cash as the BaltimoreRavens crushed the Dolphins, to the tune of $600,000.
I will spare you a long dissertation of explaining howpointsbettingworks here, so we will focus on the “standard” NFL betting opportunities that are available on PointsBet NJ sportsbook.
First off, PointsBet offers a cool promo rewarding bettors whose team scores first in Thursday’s or Monday’s games:
Looking locally, PointsBet is offering local promos for the Jets, Giants, and Eagles games with a $6 bonus for every touchdown scored:
Each week, PointsBet offers customized team parlays with corresponding odds boosts:
In addition to the team parlays offered above, there are also some customized player props available:
Keep in mind that you can also tweet to @PointsBetUSA to suggest ideas for any props that aren’t available.
In addition to the wide range of promos and props, PointsBet offers 70+ bet types on NFL game lines and totals:
In addition to these traditional baseline bets, PointsBet also offers wagers on areas, such as:
Quarterback completion percentage.
Player rushing yards and player receiving yards.
Time of first touchdown (in seconds).
All things considered, there’s a ton of action for you to choose from on PointsBet.
What can BetMGM do for you in Week 2?
Prior to Week 1 of the NFL season, MGM rebranded its app … and gave it a new look and platform upgrade. BetMGM includes “NJ” as part of the branding refresh.
All season long, BetMGM is offering a Bet $10, Get $10promotion in which the bettor will get a $10 free bet for any upcoming game on the schedule:
But I think the real headline with BetMGM NJ is its “Edit My Bet” feature that allows you to change any straight or parlay bet that has the cash-out option available.
For example, if you are hyped about how your team played in the first quarter, this BetMGM feature allows you to increase your bet size during the action.
Here’s more direct from the app:
And speaking of parlays, BetMGM offers some pre-set “geographic” team double parlays for this week:
There are times, however, where BetMGM has a lapse that reminds us that they aren’t always up to 2019 standards.
Case in point: Below is a listed prop for this weekend’s Buffalo Bills–NYGiants game. The sides are inexplicably listed as Team 1 and Team 2.
Overall, there are some nice adds to the MGM offering, specifically the “Edit a Bet” feature. That said, there are always more opportunities to improve and add the scale and depth of props and promos.
How to score with TheScore sportsbook
TheScore Bet app launched just before Week 1 of the NFL kicked off.
It is a Canada-based sports information app that has a sleek, user-friendly design. Its sports betting app in New Jersey is a mirror image in format and design.
TheScore offers subscribers the opportunity to seamlessly switch from the news and information app to the betting app.
For example, let’s say you’ve just read the news on theScore that SamDarnold is out on Monday night versus the Cleveland Browns. So, you could then quickly click on theScore Bet icon embedded in the Browns-Jets game details to make a wager on the game:
In terms of promotions, theScore Bet is offering an NFL promotion this week, awarding a $20 bet for anyone that bets a four-plus leg parlay:
With a news and information hub as a backdrop, theScore sportsbook app delivers up-to-date stats and game information to help further educate the bettor.
An example below as it relates to injuries for Sunday night’s Eagles-Falcons game:
There is also a very handy stat-line statistical comparison of key offensive and defensive match-up categories:
With all this great news and statistical information as a base, theScore Bet does fall a bit flat on its menu of current NFL betting options.
For example, the list of available wagering options for Thursday’s Panthers-Buccaneers is extremely slim.
Here is a “First Score Will Be” prop:
Also, if you are looking ahead to Sunday’s games and specifically the Giants-Bills game, as of midday Thursday, no props had yet to be posted.
TheScore needs to do better than this:
Right now, theScore sportsbook is an excellent resource for pregamenews, stats and information.
The options on the betting side of the equation right now are the equivalent of a “3 and Out” in NFL offensive parlance.
Other NJ sports betting promos of note
One other notable NFL promotion available this week is from DraftKings called the “Overreaction Redo” where DraftKings will provide up to a $25 free bet for any futures bet placed this week.
It requires an “opt-in” with details below:
In looking ahead to the local NY and PA teams, here are the current Week 2 lines as of Thursday via PointsBet:
Giants +1.5 (-105) vs. Bills, a total of 43.5
Eagles -1.5 (-110) vs. Falcons, a total of 52.5
Jets (with Darnold out) +6.5 (-110) vs. Browns, a total of 43.
To wrap up each column, I will be making three NFL picks.
Last week, after making my first three picks, I was quite content to finish at 2-1 as the Ravens and Vikings games were essentially over by halftime.
My third pick, the Redskins, were getting 10 points in Philly. The ‘skins raced to a 20-7 lead at halftime, only to be outscored 25-0 by the Eagles in the second half.
Cue a CaseKeenum touchdown pass with 0:12 left in the fourth quarter that delivered the classic “back-door cover” for me:
Last week: 3-0; season year to date: 3-0
Redskins: +10 over Eagles (Eagles 32-Redskins 27)
Viking: -4 over Falcons (Viking 28-Falcons 12)
Raven: -6.5 over Dolphins (Ravens 59-Dolphins 10)
NFL Week 2 picks
Eagles at Falcons total points 52.5, under
Over the last five head-to-head meetings, the Eagles-Falcons have combined to score 50 points only once: a 26-24 Falcons win in Atlanta in 2015, with the previous three meetings yielding totals of 30, 25, and 39.
Texans -9 over Jaguars
The Texans play their home opener after suffering an excruciating last-second loss in NewOrleans on Monday night.
They need to bounce back quickly and avoid an 0-2 start by beating the Jaguars who will now have to start rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew II with Philly legend NickFoles out indefinitely with a broken collarbone.
Steelers -4 over Seahawks
The Steelers offense could not have looked any more inept last Sunday night, putting up a measly 3 points at NewEngland.
The play is that they will rebound in this spot versus a Seahawk team that’s not as formidable away from their home field of screaming “12s.”
Soccer betting (UEFA Champions League, English Premier League, and MLS, included)
Plus, wagers on golf, tennis, and combat sports are coming soon.
However, deposit options are somewhat limited for the time being. TheScore Bet includes credit card (Visa/MasterCard/Discover), Bet Play, and Play+. But those options will likely expand in the near future.
Here’s more from Levy:
“We’ve always believed sports betting is just one facet of the overall fan experience, and now with theScore Bet we can deliver sports betting the way it was meant to be.”
TheScore Bet and the media connection
But what separates this app from the competition is the way it brings the media and sports bettingaudiences together.
For instance, the users’ favorite teams, leagues, and games from theScore sports app sync automatically to show personalized betting options in theScore Bet.
At the same time, any wagers placed can then be tracked in real-time on theScore app. This means that when using theScore, you can navigate to the corresponding bet by clicking a “Go to theScore Bet” button on the app:
Call it a unique cross-selling feature. There is also a bet mode feature that provides players with:
Instant access to faster scoring updates and data
Live bet tracking
Additional betting content
Seamless betting calls-to-action
Sweet 16 of NJ online sports betting
TheScore sportsbook officially arrives two days before the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears kick off the 2019 NFL season on Thursday night. (Currently, theScore shows the Bears as 3-point favorites over the Pack.)
The NJ sports betting launch was one of two big announcements to come out of Toronto today.
In a separate press release, Score Media and Gaming Inc. (parent company of theScore sportsbook), announced an investment agreement with a fund managed and controlled by Fengate Asset Management.
The firm’s private equity team will invest $40 million in theScore to “fund the growth and development of the company’s media and sports betting businesses.”
Levy said theScore “is focused on becoming a leader in mobile sports gaming in North America and this strategic investment significantly enhances our ability to execute on this plan.”
“Fengate is recognized as a highly respected and experienced investor across North America, with significant expertise in the gaming industry. They are the perfect strategic investment partner as we launch our best-in-class mobile sportsbook in the United States.”
And that plan is just getting started in New Jersey.
Sports media company theScore has big plans for its new sportsbook app in NJ sports betting and beyond, says father-son CEO and COO, John and Benjie Levy.
In a way, sports betting has run through the veins of theScore since its genesis.
So it seems appropriate for the Toronto-based media company to become a sports betting provider.
On Tuesday, theScore announced it had partnered with New Jersey racetrack Monmouth Park and with technology provider Bet.Works.
As a result, theScore has set itself up to join an ever-expanding NJ sports betting market with a target launch of mid-2019.
“Even before PASPA was repealed, there was a lot of discussion internally about what the right way in that environment would be for us to take the next step,” Benjie Levy, COO of theScore, said in a phone interview.
“Lots of media companies talk about becoming affiliates. There’s other types of partnerships you can look at. … When we were assessing those options and looking at what the best role was for our user base in that context, any time we looked at anything short of becoming an operator seemed like it was less fulfilling of an opportunity. Like we’d be leaving something on the table.”
Merging media with sports betting business
Before the internet transformed the way in which the world disseminates information, theScore was around.
Though its mobile app debuted in 2007, theScore was once a cable network in Canada.
A bottom-of-the-screen ticker scrolled scores even during commercials. Oldies music serenaded viewers of the channel, then known as Headline Sports.
Since then, theScore, which sold its TV network to Rogers Communications, has become a go-to source for sports information. For the past 10 years, theScore has gained traction in the US, where, according to Levy, two-thirds of the company’s users live.
Now, theScore is taking its next step, a “natural next phase,” according to a statement from company founder and CEO John Levy, Benjie’s father.
“This is a transformational moment for theScore, becoming the first media company in North America to announce its plans to launch online and mobile sports betting in the United States.”
“Gaming’s always been part of our DNA,” Benjie Levy said. “Our view is that gambling is just another part of the sports experience.”
Fan engagement tops all else
A company that provides sports scores and news via its mobile app and website, theScore began considering entering the sports betting space since before PASPAwas repealed in May.
Internal conversations ramped up over the summer, leading to theScore bringing in David Wang, an iGaming veteran formerly with Wynn Resorts and MGM, as a senior advisor in August.
Interestingly, Wang also serves as the CEO and founder of Bet.Works. With Wang, theScore began exploring “opportunities in sports betting,” according to John Levy.
During the past few months, theScore started building the pillars of becoming a sports betting operator. And on Tuesday, the company announced its partnerships: Monmouth Park (which also boasts William Hill NJ as a partner) and Bet.Works.
Media + sports betting
When theScore does roll out its product, which will be featured in a sportsbook app as well as a browser, it will tap into its standing as a media provider integrating sports betting rather than the other way around.
That, Benjie Levy said, will help theScore stand out from the crowd.
“When we look at what’s going on in the sports betting business today … with betting increasingly happening on mobile and in-game, you see the operators all working their tails off to try to increase the amount of engagement that happens on those platforms. They’re adding live data. They’re trying to add live video. They’re trying to create a sports engagement experience on the betting platform to try to keep users there longer and stimulate more betting.
“Our view is entirely to flip that situation on its head. We have the platform where it’s natural for users to engage around sports, to consume the content and chat with their friends while the game is going on and before and after. We think that moving the transactional element closer to the engagement is a much more natural experience than trying to recreate an engagement environment on a fundamentally transactional platform.
“Because of that, any option short of becoming an operator ourselves wouldn’t give us the latitude to execute that that was fulfilling. Not fulfilling just to us but to our users, who we put out in front of all of this.”
Joining NJ sports betting late not a worry
Certainly, the NJ sports betting industry has ballooned since going live in June.
Last month, the fourth month of available online wagering, saw mobile products account for 72 percent of an unprecedented $330 million in handle.
Yet John Levy is not concerned about entering the industry late. For the reasons detailed above by his son.
“The other guys should be worried about that,” the company’s founder said. “We’re not in the least worried about that. I’m not trying to sound arrogant. We have a pretty solid user base in New Jersey already in our app. That’s true for users across the US.”
‘We know our users’
More than 4 million active users utilize theScore’s app, which the Levys said is the second-most popular in North America. The company also reached 50 million sports fans on its social and emerging platforms in the third quarter.
“We know our users have a high propensity to gamble,” Levy continued. “We did our own surveying, we see it in the behavior patterns of users in the app. Our theory is simple: We’re doing all the hard stuff. We’re giving them all the data, all the information, we’re pushing all this stuff out to them. It’s a very personal experience, and they’re going elsewhere to place wagers.
“Our whole philosophy is not to push anyone to do anything. That’s not our style. We’re going to make (sports betting) available. … We honestly think we have the opportunity in this space to go up against the biggest or the smallest … to really be the predominant brand in the sports betting business in New Jersey. Because of the trusted relationship and the relationship we have with our users.”
Added Benjie Levy:
“We don’t shy away from anyone. Our offering is going to be as competitive with anyone in the marketplace, both in terms of core sportsbook offerings and in terms of innovation we’re going to bring to the marketplace. … We think there’s really, across the board, areas for us to differentiate.”
New Jersey first, then …
The Levys continue emphasizing the importance of user engagement and enjoyment.
“All we care about,” John Levy said, “is providing the users with the best experience they can have in sports.”
Sports betting, he added, “is just one particular aspect of why people love sports.” Because of that loyalty, he noted, theScore could gain “the inside edge to penetrate the market effectively and at a significantly reduced cost” compared to competitors.
A team of engineers — actually, theScore’s whole team, John Levy said — is focused on meeting the company’s timeline of a mid-2019 launch of its NJ sports betting app.
It seems like the perfect time, he said.
When will theScore launch in NJ?
Depending on actual activation, theScore’s sportsbook could begin at the tail end of the NBA season, during the dog days of MLB summer, and be honed by NFL and college football kickoff.
While theScore is focused on getting off the ground in New Jersey, by no means does it have tunnel vision.
“Our users are in every state,” John Levy said. “This was never thought to be just a one-state solution. Our brand is recognized across the country. And yes, New Jersey happens to be the first (entry point for theScore) and it’s a great one to start in. … Obviously I think we’re going to be able to shine there. But clearly our intention is to roll this out across the country depending on how states open up and how they deal with it.”
“Our intent is not to get into it as one-state operator. We’re ready to consider and engage other opportunities in other states. … We’re actively engaging now.”