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Feb 10, 2021

Canadian betting firm Score Media prepares U.S. listing after 266% surge

There is 'huge pent up demand' in sports media and betting because of COVID-19: theScore CEO

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Score Media and Gaming Inc. is looking for approval to list on a U.S. exchange after its shares surged on optimism that Canada will soon liberalize the rules for sports betting.

The company will ask holders to approve a share consolidation at its annual meeting on Wednesday morning, which would set the stage for a U.S. listing.

Toronto-based Score Media has gained seven straight trading days and is up 266 per cent to start the year, the top performer in the Roundhill Sports Betting & iGaming ETF (BETZ), which has risen 21 per cent during the same period. That has pushed up its market capitalization to $2.4 billion as of Tuesday’s close.

Domestic prospects for sports betting legalization have been a key driver for Score Media’s shares, but its U.S. betting app, theScore, has also beaten some analysts’ expectations. Its sportsbook -- theScore Bet -- “demolished” Canaccord Genuity’s expectations in the fiscal first quarter, said analyst Matthew Lee, who has a buy rating on the stock.

A U.S. listing would also allow investors to compare Score Media against its U.S. rivals, according to Eight Capital analyst Suthan Sukumar, who also has a buy rating on the stock. Sukumar says the company’s plans to launch an online casino product this year is another “lucrative” catalyst.

Canadian Justice Minister David Lametti unveiled legislation last fall to legalize single-event sports betting in Canada, marking a change in direction for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government. A second reading of the legislation, Bill C-13, is scheduled for Feb. 19.

Shares of online gambling companies like DraftKings Inc. have attracted attention from retail investors along with larger institutional players like Cathie Wood, as more regions move to legalize wagering activity. Penn National Gaming Inc. holds a small equity stake in Score Media as apart of a 2019 market access pact.