Toronto-listed sports publisher theScore has secured initial license approval to offer online sports betting to players in New Jersey.

The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE) issued the approval to theScore subsidiary Score Digital Sports Ventures, authorising the operator to begin a soft launch of its sports betting app with select customers this week, with a statewide launch slated to complete ahead of the start of the new football season.

“This is a huge milestone and a result of the tireless hard work that has gone into getting our sportsbook ready for launch,” said John Levy, founder and chief executive officer of theScore. “We can't wait to debut a best-in-class sports betting offering in New Jersey, delivering a truly unique and holistic sports media and wagering experience for fans.”

The sports betting app has been developed on the proprietary sports betting technology platform of US-based iGaming and sportsbook provider Bet.Works and will operate in New Jersey under the partnership agreed in December 2018 between theScore and Monmouth Park Racetrack and the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association.

theScore has also agreed a market access deal with Penn National Gaming that will enable it to operate in Louisiana and Mississippi as a first skin partner of Penn; in Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, Ohio and Texas and a second skin partner; and in Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts and Michigan as a third skin partner.

Penn National subsidiary Penn Interactive Ventures acquired a 4.7 per cent stake in theScore as part of the agreement, with an option to increase this stake as additional market access fees become payable.

Shares in theScore Inc. (CVE:SCR) closed up 8.16 per cent at CAD$0.530 per share in Toronto Friday, having set a new 52-week high of $0.58 per share earlier in the day.