Northern Exposure: Unibet To Cease North American Operations, theScore Bet Partners With NHL

Each week, Canada Sports Betting recaps all the top sports betting and iGaming news in Canada and highlights upcoming events.

Our top stories this week

Event of the week

NFL – San Francisco 49ers vs. Philadelphia Eagles – Sunday, Dec. 3

We’re at the point in the NFL season where the playoff race is heating up and there’s a potentially explosive NFC clash looming on Sunday between the San Francisco 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles.

The Eagles, who boast the best record in the NFL at 10-1, are three-point home underdogs at TonyBet and the total is now up to 47.5 points after opening at 45.5. This could be one of the best games of the year, as TonyBet has listed both of these teams with the shortest Super Bowl outright odds (SF +418, PHI +437).

Check back with Canada Sports Betting on Sunday for a full betting preview of this marquee matchup!

Unibet to cease North American operations

A major igaming operator is planning to cease its North American operations.

Kindred Group, which operates the Unibet brand in Ontario and in the United States, announced Wednesday that it will exit these markets by Q2 of 2024 after performing a strategic review. The operator plans to slash at least 300 jobs which it says will result in a cost reduction of $40 million GBP.

“The cost reduction actions announced today are both necessary and decisive,” said Interim CEO of Kindred Group, Nils Anden, in a press release. “While it is never a desire to inform valued colleagues of redundancies, this puts us in a stronger position to secure long-term growth for Kindred across our locally regulated core markets. We can now focus our resources and tech capacity towards strategic initiatives and selected markets where we see clear potential to grow our market share.”

Unibet, led by Canada Country Manager Amanda Brewer, was one of the first operators to launch in Ontario in April 2022. Brewer, who played a key role with the Canadian Gaming Association as a senior advisor and helped shape the landscape for Ontario’s new regulated igaming market alongside President and CEO Paul Burns, announced she was leaving the company in October via a LinkedIn post.

The company’s latest quarterly earnings report outlines the brand’s struggles in North America, as during the first three quarters of 2023, underlying EBITDA losses amounted to $17.1 million GBP.

With over 45 private igaming operators living in Ontario, many industry analysts have been predicting future consolidation in the market. Last March, Coolbet Canada also shuttered its operations in Ontario. There are likely more operators that will fold in Ontario as the market matures.

theScore Bet partners with NHL

ESPN BET and theScore Bet are the newest official sports betting partners of the NHL, PENN Entertainment announced in a press release on Wednesday.

PENN’s U.S. sports betting brand, ESPN BET, just launched south of the border on Nov. 14 in 17 states, while PENN’s presence in Canada is fortified by theScore Bet in Ontario. The new deal will give both brands access to IP rights and media and marketing integrations across league programming.

“The recent launch of ESPN BET in the U.S. is extremely exciting and we’re thrilled to collaborate with the NHL to help market our new sports betting experience,” said Aubrey Levy, senior vice president, marketing and content, Penn Interactive. “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.”

Several other operators doing business in Ontario also have various partnership agreements with the NHL, including Bet99 and the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation’s PROLINE brand.

PENN completed its acquisition of Score Media and Gaming for $2 billion USD in October of 2021.

Sportradar teams up with Sportsnet

Sportradar, a multinational corporation based in Switzerland that collects and analyzes sports data for bookmakers, national and international sports federations, and media companies, is the newest partner of Canadian sports specialty network Sportsnet.

Sportradar specializes in real-time stats, player information, and advanced sports data sets that will soon be integrated in Sportsnet’s NHL and MLB broadcasts.

“We are proud to partner with Sportsnet, a market leader, who is committed to entertaining and informing Canadian sports fans,” said Brian Josephs, head of regional sales, North America, at Sportradar. “This collaboration showcases Sportradar’s expertise in enhancing sports content through data and technology. Together, we will bring fans closer to the action, providing them a unique, more engaging viewing experience.”

Sportradar’s innovative technology will also be used to enhance Sportsnet’s radio network and web/app platforms.

Many professional sports leagues, such as the NHL, MLB, NBA, and the International Tennis Federation are also partnered with Sportradar. Betting operators, like FanDuel, DraftKings, and Caesars also use Sportradar’s products and services to help manage their sportsbooks.

Rivalry announces Q3 earnings

Toronto-based Rivalry announced its third-quarter earnings report this week.

The operator, known for its comprehensive esports offerings, reported a net loss of $5.6 million for the quarter ending Sept. 20, 2023, but there was also plenty of good news for shareholders:

  • Year-over-year, betting handle is up 50%, revenue up 22%, and gross profit up 90% while marketing spend decreased by 13%.
  • Rivalry is tracking well in FY23 on a year-to-date basis as well with betting handle up 127%, revenue up 70%, and gross profit up 176% with a $3.6M reduction in net loss compared to the same period in 2022.
  • The company boasted its strongest YTD customer KPI’s in its history with average handle and revenue per user reaching an all-time high with a record low cost of customer acquisition.
  • In Ontario, betting handle has increased by over 400% from Q3/22. Traditional sports have also gained momentum over the year, helping contribute toward increased average handle per user, which is up 29% YTD compared to the first nine months of last year. The casino segment has also grown to account for approximately half of Q3 betting handle.

“Years of consistent performance, flattened opex multiple quarters in a row, demonstrated triple-digit growth year-over-year across core metrics year-to-date with all-time high average handle per customer, average revenue per user, and record low cost of customer acquisition over that same period gives me high conviction in Rivalry’s future,” said Rivalry CEO Steven Salz in a press release. “It is this proven operating leverage, supported by an improving sportsbook margin profile resulting in more revenue per dollar wagered, now fueled by growth capital, that is creating a significant opportunity set for Rivalry. It is that combination which gives us confidence to reaffirm our first half 2024 profitability guidance.”

Rivalry launched in Ontario in April 2022 and offers esports, sports betting, and iCasino betting platforms.

NorthStar targeting restaurants/bars with new partnership

NorthStar Gaming (NorthStar Bets) has entered into a partnership agreement with Vegas-based digital signage solutions company BettorView in an attempt to reach customers in restaurants and bars across Ontario, the two companies jointly announced this week.

BettorView’s in-venue sports betting screen technology is powering thousands of TVs in casinos, stadiums, restaurant chains, and independent sports bars all across the United States. BetMGM and Aria Casino and Resort are two of BettorView’s high-profile clients, among many others.

NorthStar is BettorView’s first Canadian igaming partner.

“NorthStar is the ideal partner for us to initiate our entry into Canada with our technology,” said Javier Vargas, CEO, BettorView. “Our technology allows our gaming and venue partners to customize and localize content so that it fully resonates for sports fans, while also educating them on sports betting and responsible gambling in general. As a Canadian-owned gaming brand with deep Ontario roots, NorthStar shares our appreciation for authentically reaching Ontario sports fans, and we’re proud to partner with them.”

It’s unclear which bars/restaurants will be featuring BettorView’s technology featuring NorthStar branding in the future.

NorthStar Bets recently went Canada-wide with its operations following the acquisition of It is a licensed and regulated online casino and sportsbook in Ontario, and it’s operating in the grey space in other jurisdictions across Canada.