Penn National Expands Barstool Brand Onward into Michigan and Indiana
- Seizing momentum, PNG/Barstool begins operation in Michigan & Indiana for 2021
- Timing should be excellent as Michigan re-opens casinos after government shutdown
- Maryland on-deck for Penn National with the announced deal & plans to enter a new market
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Penn National Gaming may have been a bit slow out of the sportsbook operating gate but seem to be gaining marketing share momentum now through their Barstool Sportsbook brand.
PNG will open Barstool sportsbooks located in three of its properties in Indiana and Michigan pending final regulatory approvals. Local customers at Detroit’s Greektown Casino in Michigan and Lawrencetown’s Hollywood Casino in Indiana will be able to enjoy sports wagering at these locations. A third sportsbook will be opening this week at Ameristar East Chicago in Indiana.
As a major casino company, Penn National Gaming operates 41 properties across 19 US states. They acquired a 36% share of Barstool in January 2020 for $163 million with a goal of utilizing their popular social media identity. Barstool shares its content with approximately 66 million viewers via its well-known website and platforms.
In commenting about the expansion, Penn National Sr. VP of Regional Operations Rafael Verde said:
The new designs incorporate the spirit of the Barstool Sports brand, resulting in unique sports wagering and dining experiences that we expect our customers will thoroughly enjoy.
Good Timing for PNG, Especially in Michigan
The introduction into both Indiana and Michigan, who are just beginning their sports wagering launch should set a momentum burst for Penn National heading into 2021. Also coinciding with the company eyeing other new US states likely to begin sports betting operations in the new year.
Especially timely is the Michigan launch, which came as the state’s three commercial casinos reopened following a government-ordered three-week shutdown. An action similar to other US states, that were due to COVID-19 and hopefully will not occur in 2021 to upset Penn National/Barstool’s plans.
All Michigan sportsbooks are expected to go online in January. Involving the competition, MGM Grand Detroit uses the company’s BetMGM interactive iGaming and sports platform. MotorCity is partnered with FanDuel.
Penn National has recently made the public announcement they have entered into an agreement with Gaming and Leisure Properties, Inc. to acquire the operations of Hollywood Casino Perryville Maryland. An acquisition deal estimated to be worth more than $31.1 million in cash, subject to working capital adjustments.
Gaming & Leisure was originally spun off from Penn National as part of a trend by casino operators to separate gaming and casino real estate.
With the closing of the transaction, Penn National will enter a lease with GLPI for the real estate assets associated with the Hollywood Casino Perryville facility with an annual rent of approximately $7.77 million. This transaction sets the tone for Penn National to enter online gaming as it is expected to likely begin operation in Maryland sometime in 2021.
Commenting on the issue, Penn National CEO Jay Snowden said:
With the recent approval of sports betting through the overwhelming passage of Question 2 on Election Day, Maryland is expected to become a significant retail and mobile sports betting market. As such, this acquisition provides another opportunity to expand our unique omnichannel platform with a Barstool-branded retail sportsbook and mobile app.
The transaction is expected to close in mid-2021, subject to the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission’s approval and other closing conditions.
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Larry Gibbs is both a seasoned journalist and a respected online gaming industry consultant. His wry commentary & sharp analysis have appeared in numerous top gaming and sports wagering publications. He has also served as Vice President of US Gaming Services, a marketing research organization with 15 years of experience in US online wagering. He has spoken at noted gaming industry conferences including G2E, GiGSE, and NCLGS.
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