The NHL has just announced its newest sports betting partner. The league has just agreed to a massive deal with PENN Entertainment and its two subsidiary sportsbooks ESPN Bet and theScore Bet. Both sportsbooks are now official league sports betting partners. ESPN Bet is an official partner for the United States market, while theScore Bet joins as an official Ontario sports betting partner.
This new partnership will also see PENN Entertainment sports betting brands feature in NHL broadcasts, including Winter Classic, All-Star Weekend, and Stanley Cup playoffs broadcasts.
- theScore Bet is now an official Ontario sports betting partner of the NHL
- ESPN Bet went live on November 14 in 17 US states, while theScore Bet has been live in Ontario since 2022.
- theScore Bet has long been recognised as one of the best sports betting sites in Ontario.
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NHL nets new Ontario sports betting partner
The NHL’s new partnership with PENN Entertainment represents the league’s transnational structure. PENN’s ESPN Bet brand will be the league’s official partner in the US, while theScore Bet is now an official Ontario sports betting partner of the NHL.
“There’s definite excitement in being one of the first leagues to partner with ESPN Bet and Penn Entertainment,” said Jason Jazayeri, NHL vice president of business development, “We’re looking forward to working with ESPN Bet in the US and TheScore Bet in Ontario to engage our passionate fan base.”
Aubrey Levy, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Content at PENN, said of the deal that “Becoming an official partner allows us to more broadly engage hockey fans, develop compelling integrations and uniquely leverage NHL programming. This is also a key partnership for theScore Bet in Ontario, where the popularity of hockey is unmatched.”
This new partnership will allow theScore Bet to use the NHL trademark, branding, and other NHL IP rights in Ontario. theScore Bet will also feature during NHL coverage. It is unclear to what extent theScore Bet will feature.
According to PENN, this new deal “will also include collaboration for best-in-class game integrity procedures.”
PENN Entertainment, ESPN Bet, and theScore Bet explained
ESPN Bet is the newest major sports betting site in North America. The site was founded just a few months ago in August 2023 when PENN Entertainment paid $2 billion CAD for the right to use the ESPN trademark in the US for the next 10 years.
This move was very controversial in some circles due to concerns over sports betting coverage impacting ESPN’s traditional sports coverage. Despite these concerns, ESPN Bet went live on November 14 in 17 US states, while theScore Bet has been live in Ontario since 2022.
theScore Bet has long been recognised as one of the best sports betting sites in Ontario. The site was acquired by PENN Entertainment in 2021. According to PENN, theScore Bet has been essential to the growth of their company in recent years. The Canadian sports betting site’s industry-leading sports betting user interface and software was incorporated into all PENN Entertainment sports betting brands, including ESPN Bet.
Ontario sports betting ad rules to limit theScore Bet’s NHL deal’s impact
NHL fans worried about their hockey coverage being overrun with sports betting content do not have to worry. Well, they do not have to worry as much as they did last year at least.
New Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) rules for sports betting advertisements now prohibit former and current athletes, celebrities, and other so-called influencers from appearing in Ontario sports betting ads. The agency has also levied a number of fines against sports betting sites for violating rules for advertising Ontario sports betting bonuses.
These things taken together could mean that sportsbooks are more cautious with their ads than they were in 2022 when the sports betting market first opened in Ontario. The federal government is also considering federal rules limiting sports betting advertisements during live sports coverage. However, it is unlikely we will see anything like that passed until after the 2023-24 NHL season, at the earliest.
Julian Miller is a Canadian writer and an avid sports fan. He has years of experience in the iGaming industry, having started writing while completing his university studies in Montreal, Quebec. In 2022, he graduated, and has since been working full-time in the iGaming space. He has a particular fondness for the English Premier League — though he also has plenty of experience covering football, basketball, and other sports.