Penn’s Barstool Sportsbook to Debut in Pennsylvania
When Penn National bought a 36 percent stake in Barstool Sports, the goal was to tap into the members of the sports firm and trend its demographics younger. That strategy begins to pan out or not beginning September 18 when the Barstool Sportsbook app debuts in Pennsylvania.
Barstool Sportsbook will begin testing September 15 in Pennsylvania. Penn National‘s sportsbook, in conjunction with Kambi‘s technology, expects to debut on September 18, in time for week two of the NFL season. Penn National paid $163 million in January for 36 percent of Barstool Sports, which claims to have 66 million members.
“The Barstool Sportsbook app is the centerpiece of our company’s omni-channel strategy,” said Jay Snowden, president and CEO of Penn National. “Since forming our exclusive sports betting and iGaming partnership with Barstool Sports in January, our product, marketing and operations teams have worked hand-in-hand with Barstool’s top talent, including Dave Portnoy and Dan ‘Big Cat’ Katz, to create a sports betting experience.”
Pennsylvania may be the first, but Barstool Sportsbooks has an ambitious agenda. Barstool will launch in Michigan come November, with New Jersey, Indiana, Iowa, West Virginia, and Colorado dropping in early 2021, Snowden said. Pennsylvania, Michigan and New Jersey not only offer online sports betting but iGaming, according to Legal Sports Report.
Analyst Ryan Sigdahl predicts Penn National will eventually capture up to 20 percent of the U.S. online casino and sports betting market.
Snowden said Penn National sees sports betting and Barstool as a way to increase the number of younger customers in a demographic heavy on the 45 and older category, according to CDC Gaming Reports.
“We think Penn National remains best positioned among land-based operators and see upside potential for their core business as well,” Bank of America gaming analyst Shaun Kelley said in a research note.
Meanwhile, Penn National Gaming struck a deal with the Kindred Group on September 8 to enter the Illinois sports betting market through Unibet Sportsbook. The agreement also sets the stage for online gaming and sports betting in Ohio, should the legislature enact laws for both.
In Illinois, Unibet would be one of the mobile wagering options of Argosy Casino Alton, one of six retail sportsbooks in operation, according to Sports Handle.
Kindred, based in Malta, would have access in Ohio through Penn National’s Hollywood casinos. First, Ohio lawmakers need to decide which agency will regulate the marketplace: the Ohio Lottery or the Casino Control Commission.
“Extending our footprint in the U.S. by establishing our brand in two key states like Illinois and Ohio is very exciting for us,” Senior Vice President of Kindred U.S. Manuel Stan said. “We continue our journey in what we believe will become the largest gambling market in the world. Putting Illinois and Ohio on the list together with New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Iowa and Indiana, shows our commitment to establishing Unibet.”
Unibet launched in Indiana on July 30 through Horseshoe Hammond.