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TheScore closes US sports betting on Canada Day

Toronto, Canada - June 6, 2020: theScore sign at their Toronto headquarters.  Score Media and Gaming Inc. (formerly theScore, Inc.) is the digital media and sports betting company

Toronto, Canada – June 6, 2020: theScore sign at their Toronto headquarters. Score Media and Gaming Inc. (formerly theScore, Inc.) is the digital media and sports betting company

Score Media and Gaming will close its eponymous sports book in the United States on Canada Day, ending the Toronto-based brand’s uphill battle for visibility south of the border.

The move comes nearly eight months after Penn National Gaming (PENN) acquired theScore in a $2 billion cash-and-stock deal aimed at increasing market share in the crowded North American sports betting market .

TheScore Bet will stop accepting bets in the US on June 15th, after which users will only be able to make withdrawal transactions. The company’s media unit and betting operations in Ontario are unaffected.

The company says the decision to halt betting activity on the Score Bet platform in the four U.S. states in which it operates (Colorado, Indiana, Iowa and New Jersey) is aimed at increasing focus on its Sportsbook to relocate the Barstool brand. Penn owns a 36 percent interest in Barstool with an option to acquire a majority stake.

“Since Penn acquired theScore, given our strong brand equity there, the company plans to lead with Barstool Sportsbook in the US and theScore Bet in Canada,” said Benjie Levy, President and COO of theScore Yahoo Finance Canada in an opinion.

“With theScore Bet launched and thriving in Ontario, and as we approach a major venture this summer with the launch of our proprietary risk and trading service, the time has come to focus our US efforts on marketing Barstool Sportsbook and our Canadian efforts to focus on the marketing of theScore bet.”

TheScore Bet struggled to compete in the US market against sports betting giants like DraftKings (DKNG). An industry analyst who spoke to Yahoo Finance Canada A spending war was forecast last July to lure customers, with a preference for larger, well-capitalized companies.

“Acquiring clients right now is all about making money and losing money,” Macquarie Capital’s Chad Beynon said in an interview. “Many companies are willing to lose hundreds of millions of dollars. That’s one thing theScore isn’t willing to do right now… I think that’s one of the reasons their market share is where it is.”

However, theScore Bet has proven difficult to ignore in its native Ontario. In April, the Toronto Blue Jays announced a 10-year deal with theScore Bet, which includes plans for a branded sports bar at the Rogers Centre.

A Morgan Stanley report found that the Score Bet app gained an early head start in Ontario as the market opened up to private competition.

Jeff Lagerquist is Senior Reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow him on Twitter @jefflagerquist.

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