TheScore Bet CEO John Levy Excited To Be In Indiana Market That’s ‘Going Nuts’

Posted on September 22, 2020

Indiana’s ninth online sportsbook is one-of-a-kind.

TheScore Bet may be the newcomer in the Hoosier State, but the sportsbook’s unique media-based approach gives it a leg up.

John Levy, theScore’s founder and CEO has been running the ship from the start.

The Toronto-based company’s roots go all the way back to television in the 1990s.

Eventually, Levy launched theScore app, which has become a sports media titan. Only the ESPN app is more popular in North America.

Now, theScore Bet sportsbook bridges the gap between the company’s media app and the world of gambling.

PlayIndiana spoke to Levy earlier this week about the sportsbook’s Indiana launch.

What to expect

So what can you expect when you download theScore Bet?

If you’re already using theScore sports media app, then you’ve already solved half of the puzzle.

“We joke about the fact that we’re the most-used, least-known brand in the sports business in the US. If you are a Score user, then I’d say what you should come to expect is the same type of approach in the context of how we present sports news and information to our users, to people that love sports. Really our move into sports betting is just an extension of what we’ve been doing forever.”

The sportsbook fuses the content of the theScore’s media app with the sports betting side of the business to give its users the best of both worlds.

Levy says that making everything simple and easy to use was a big focus. He’s hoping that the media app’s success in Indiana will help translate to sportsbook users.

“Indiana it just seems to me is kind of like ‘just give it to me straight and show me what you’re doing. If I like it, I’m going to play with you. If I don’t like it, to hell with you.’ And I think they’re going to like it. I think they’re going to like it a lot because we know that they already like the (sports media) app.”

Why Indiana?

Since there are currently nine online betting apps in Indiana, every company has to fight to carve out its own chunk of the state’s handle.

That handle is a big one. During August, Hoosiers wagered nearly $170 million on sports.

According to Levy, Indiana’s position as one of the biggest markets in the country helped draw theScore Bet to the state in the first place.

“It’s a huge market. Indiana’s going nuts. You see some of the numbers July over August. It’s another reason that we’re glad to be there. Look what you’ve got in that state. Look at the college stuff you’ve got in Indiana and pro teams and Big Ten coming back. That’s pretty important in that state.”

Future growth

When a sportsbook launches in a new state, it’s already behind schedule. The companies that open for business months beforehand have a head start.

That’s certainly been the case in Indiana, where DraftKings and FanDuel have been the top dogs since betting started.

Levy and theScore know there’s ground to cover in the Hoosier State, but the company doesn’t need to be number one to still be successful.

“Quite frankly, you don’t need 30% market share for a sustainable business. Mid-single-digit leading to double-digit market shares creates an amazing business.”

So theScore Bet won’t be taking out the competition in the next few months, but that’s to be expected. For Levy, it’s all about building up the initial customer base.

“Hundreds of millions see our content when we distribute on other platforms as well. So people say ‘okay, so what? You’re going to get millions of bettors?’ And I would love to get millions of bettors but in the betting world you don’t need millions, it’s thousands or tens of thousands of good bettors that build your business. If you do it properly you’re building for the future.”

High-quality products often sell themselves, so in theScore Bet’s case, time is on its side.

Penn National Gaming

Online sportsbooks have to have a land-based casino partner in Indiana.

That’s the case in other states as well, so theScore Bet signed a deal with Penn National Gaming to snag that market access. Ameristar East Chicago is the sportsbook’s Indiana partner.

Levy expects the Penn National partnership to be a fruitful one.

“They’re trying to make sure that they have different avenues into success. I know we’ll be one of them, and hopefully they’ll find a way with others as well. For us, it gave us a 30% footprint over the US and between New Jersey and Colorado, which we did on our own, and the 11 states we got with Penn, as the states roll up and license it gives us a pretty significant beginning.”

Indiana retail sportsbook

At least for now, theScore Bet is focused on the digital side of the business.

However, that’s not to say that there won’t be an Indiana retail sportsbook coming at some point in the future.

According to Levy, the company isn’t actively gunning for a retail spot, but it would have to take a look if the right type of deal came along.

“Our strength is really in our brand and our user base. It’s not an imperative for us, but having said that, there’s some really cool opportunities in that space where we can be a big advantage to somebody that has an opportunity for us to partner, or to do it on our own depending on the situation. It could get fun real fast, but it’s not something that’s pressing on us.”

Whether the company ends up going retail down the line or not, theScore Bet plans on having an Indiana presence for years to come.

With its new media-focused approach to sports betting, theScore Bet certainly has a unique way to appeal to Hoosier gamblers.

Photo by Getty
Jake Garza Avatar
Written by
Jake Garza

Jake Garza is a US Gambling Industry Analyst for Catena Media. He specializes in Midwest sports betting and casino content. Prior to covering the legal gambling industry, he spent time as a professional sports writer, reporting on teams such as the Cincinnati Bengals, Indianapolis Colts and Indiana Pacers. Garza is currently working as a Managing Editor for PlayIndiana and PlayOhio, with previous stops at other well-known brands such as PlayIllinois and PlayMichigan. He has been covering the gambling industry since 2019, and currently works with a team of other journalists to provide comprehensive coverage of the legal U.S. gambling industry.

View all posts by Jake Garza