Pending Approval, TheScore Bet To Jump Into Illinois Sports Betting Pool This Year

Posted By Joe Boozell on March 29, 2021 - Last Updated on April 6, 2021

TheScore Bet has gained Illinois market access through Harrah’s Joliet Casino and hopes to offer mobile sports betting by the end of the year.

The 10-year agreement is through Caesars Entertainment, which owns the Harrah’s casino. Caesars will receive a cut of theScore’s Bet Illinois revenue.

John Levy, chairman and CEO of theScore Bet, said:

“Gaining market access to Illinois is a significant development that will bring our award-winning mobile sportsbook to one of the most populous states. 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.”

TheScore Bet is currently live in Indiana, Iowa, New Jersey and Colorado.

BetMGM and Unibet will likely launch before theScore Bet in Illinois, but we could be nearing double-digit online sportsbooks in Illinois by the end of 2021.

What is theScore Bet?

Not to be confused with Chicago sports talk radio station 670 The Score, theScore Bet is a Canadian sports media company that is extremely popular north of the border.

Its app has been available in the US for a long time, but the TV station is only available in Canada. Levy commented on theScore’s brand recognition at our sister site, PlayIndiana, when it launched in the Hoosier State:

“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 (the)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.”

TheScore’s headquarters are in Toronto. So, if sports betting legalizes in Canada, theScore Bet may become a major player.

In Illinois, it likely won’t compete with the likes of DraftKings or FanDuel, based on what we’ve seen in other states.

But based on how large the market is, that shouldn’t dissuade companies like theScore Bet from pursuing a license.

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

Zooming out on the Illinois sports betting market

Illinois is now the fourth-biggest sports betting state in the US by monthly handle.

In January, the Prairie State took in $581.6 million worth of bets. Illinois surpassed the $2 billion all-time handle mark that month.

As of now, there are six online sportsbook operators with the addition of Barstool Sportsbook. That’s still a much smaller number than markets such as Colorado or Indiana, which each have double-digit online operators.

But Illinois is now approaching that territory.

As previously mentioned, MGM Sportsbook and Unibet are pending sports betting applicants. Once the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) approves them, there will be eight online options in IL.

TheScore Bet will likely to be the ninth. However, a word of caution: The IGB doesn’t have a reputation for speed.

Unibet, for example, was hoping to launch in Illinois in early 2021; as we approach April, it’s still a pending applicant. Just because theScore Bet says it plans to launch by the end of year, it doesn’t mean it will happen.

Regardless, it should be here at some point, and more competition is good news for the Illinois sports betting consumer.

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Joe Boozell

Joe Boozell has also been a college sports writer for NCAA.com since 2015. His work has also appeared in Bleacher Report, FoxSports.com and NBA.com. Growing up, Boozell squared off against both Anthony Davis and Frank Kaminsky in the Chicagoland basketball scene ... you can imagine how that went.

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