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theScore takes early lead in Ontario sports betting market: Morgan Stanley

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·3 min read
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theScore promotes its sports betting app in Toronto's Yonge-Dundas Square. (theScore via Twitter.)
theScore promotes its sports betting app in Toronto's Yonge-Dundas Square. (theScore via Twitter.)

Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect significant data revisions by Morgan Stanley on April 20. A previous version stated that theScore Bet accounted for 50 per cent of Canada sports betting app downloads since April 4. The original report from Morgan Stanley on April 18 did not include data related to FanDuel. The data revisions by Morgan Stanley also alter the share of downloads for BetMGM, Bet365, Betway, BetRivers, and PointsBet Canada.

Score Media and Gaming has taken an early lead in Ontario's newly launched sports betting market and is head of estimates, according to analysts at Morgan Stanley, who looked at various smartphone app downloads in Canada since the launch of private sportsbooks in Ontario.

While app downloads do not necessarily mean customers are spending money, the report offers an early glimpse of what is expected to be intense competition among operators in a market predicted to generate nearly a billion dollars in gross revenue in its first year.

Morgan Stanley found theScore Bet app accounted for 35 per cent of overall sports betting app downloads since April 4, the day Ontario became the first province to allow private sportsbooks to compete with its government-run betting platform. Thomas Allen, an analyst at the New-York-based investment bank, notes the distinction between theScore's sports media app and its new betting platform.

Bet365 received the second-most downloads, at 27 per cent, according to Morgan Stanley, followed by FanDuel with 16 per cent. BetMGM commanded a nine per cent share. (Yahoo Sports U.S. has a partnership with BetMGM in U.S. jurisdictions where single sports-betting is legal.) Betway represented four per cent, followed by PointsBet Canada and BetRivers at three per cent and two per cent, respectively.

Canada's sports betting/iGaming app download share by operator. Source: Morgan Stanley.
Canada's sports betting/iGaming app download share by operator. Source: Morgan Stanley.

According to iGaming Ontario, a subsidiary of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, more than 20 operators are registered and approved. The result has been a flurry of partnership announcements between these companies and professional sports teams, leagues, and major media organizations.

Daily Download Share by Operator Since the Regulated Market Opened on April 4. Source: Morgan Stanley
Daily Download Share by Operator Since the Regulated Market Opened on April 4. Source: Morgan Stanley

Digging deeper into the data, Morgan Stanley says theScore's download share peaked at 65 per cent on April 4, before declining to about 18 per cent on April 18 and 19.

"This is still ahead of the five to 10 per cent Canada sports betting/iGaming share we model for theScore," Allen wrote in an update to the report Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Morgan Stanley said Bet365 grew its share from 14 per cent to above 30 per cent over the same period. FanDuel's share started at 14 per cent on April 4, and has hovered between 14 and 25 per cent since, according to the report.

"Given that not all major U.S. operators are live in the Ontario market yet, for example DraftKings (DKNG), we expect to see further dispersion of share over the coming months," Allen wrote. "However, taking first-mover advantage and getting customers on apps early has proven a successful strategy in most U.S. markets so far."

Pennsylvania-based Penn National Gaming (PENN) acquired Score Media and Gaming following a US$2 billion deal announced in August. The Toronto-based company recently struck a 10-year partnership with the Toronto Blue Jays that will give it a highly-visible presence at games.

While theScore is a well-known brand in Canada, owing to its history as a television channel and its digital sports and e-sports coverage, the company has struggled to grab attention in the four U.S. states where it takes bets. theScore Bet is currently live in Colorado, Indiana, Iowa and New Jersey.

Chad Beynon, an analyst with Macquarie Capital, told Yahoo Finance Canada in July that theScore Bet has a slim one per cent share or less in U.S. markets where it's available. Due to intensifying competition, he predicted the company will have a 6.5 per cent share of the Canadian market by 2030.

A recent report from Deloitte Canada warned that operators should expect significant "churn" in the Ontario market as consumers get lured by promotional offers, test out new apps, and generally shop around.

Jeff Lagerquist is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow him on Twitter @jefflagerquist.

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