Baseball’s fraught relationship with the legal sports betting industry took yet another step toward total acceptance with a multi-year agreement with Score Media and Gaming Inc. who will immediately become its latest Authorized Gaming Operator. theScore joins six other sports betting operators with similar partnership deals with MLB and should be ready to go for the start of the abbreviated 60-game baseball season that throws its first pitch later this month.
“We’re thrilled to work with MLB, helping bring our fans an even deeper experience as we begin our multistate expansion of theScore Bet,” CEO and founder John Levy said in a company statement. “We know our fans are eager to watch and bet on America’s pastime, and we’ll be ready to bring them a best-in-class integrated media and betting offering when play resumes and for seasons to come.”
Score Media and Gaming Inc.’s deal will follow a similar path to the other Authorized Gaming Operators that include the two biggest DFS providers in the world, BetMGM, Fox Bet, Bet365, and Intralot. Under the new deal, the company and the league will work to provide a unique experience for the growing legion of legal betting MLB fans.
Score Media and Gaming Inc. gains immediate access to Official MLB Data, league marks, and logos for its betting app theScore Bet. theScore also gets access to Statcast, the league’s official data feed, which will provide the betting app with real-time stats to support theScore’s live betting platform.
Also, the two companies will be working together to provide best-in-class practices to protect the integrity of MLB games.
theScore has been rising up the ranks of legal sports betting providers in the US. In January, the company and the app became authorized gaming operators for the NBA. MLB becomes the second major sport that theScore has inked such a deal.
Kenny Gersh, MLB Executive Vice President, Gaming & New Business Ventures, said of the partnership: “Working with theScore is another important step in offering baseball fans a variety of unique gaming options to continually engage with our sport… theScore is an innovative company that shares our vision for developing fandom with new, creative gaming opportunities on a variety of platforms.”
The company is live in just one state – New Jersey but has gained market access in another 10 thanks to a partnership with the up-and-coming Penn National brand. theScore Bet is slated to go live in both Indiana and Colorado in the next couple of months.
theScore is the first mobile sportsbook operator owned and run by a media company in the North American market and the architect of a trend that has seen operators and media companies join forces for the US scene. It is their unique approach and extra-broad, all-encompassing reach that has made the brand successful thus far.
Baseball has come a long way
Baseball historians are quick to remind us of the relationship between baseball and gambling. There was the White Sox scandal of 1919 that included Shoeless Joe Jackson and there is the Pete Rose situation from 1989 that constantly remind us of the possible perils of a sports league/betting operator relationship.
Fast forward to today and MLB now has seven authorized gaming operators for the league. It is obvious that MLB has not only put behind them the betting issues of the past, but it is embracing a new reality in which betting and sport are inherently tied together.
Legal sports betting only affects about 30% of Americans so far, meaning the industry has a ton of room to grow. If and when California, Florida, or Texas get on board, over half of US citizens will be able to wager on sports legally. Baseball sees the writing on the wall, and those words have legal betting as an integral part of the story going forward.