Penn National to Open First Barstool Sportsbook in PA
Penn National Gaming, Inc. will open their first physical Barstool sportsbook in late August at the Hollywood Casino in York, Pennsylvania. The move comes after Penn National invested $163 million in early 2020 to gain a 36% share of Barstool Sports, which is also partly owned by the Chemin Group.
As a leader in the gaming industry, Penn National operates, owns or has an ownership stake in 41 properties in 19 states. They have licenses to operate live sportsbooks in eight states and offer online sports betting in Indiana, Pennsylvania, Iowa, and West Virginia, with plans to offer the Barstool Sports mobile application in Michigan.
Barstool Sportsbook in PA
Barstool Sports was founded by Dave Portnoy in 2003 in Boston as a gambling and fantasy sports publication. Its website was founded in 2007 and has gone on to draw an almost cult-like audience, eventually expanding its topics to include sports and other current topics of interest.
Portnoy is still the driving force behind Barstool Sports, acting as the Chief of Content for the company’s website, although the CEO is former AOL chief marketing officer Erika Nardini, a role she has had since 2016. Barstool Sports has been the source of entertaining videos, interviews and Twitter feeds, many of which have led to controversy throughout its history.
The Chemin Group acquired 51% ownership of Barstool Sports in 2016, but its stake is now reportedly down to 36% after the investment by Penn National, which allows it to use the Barstool brand for its retail sportsbook business. Barstool Sports also operates a mobile sportsbook application, which also will be utilized by Penn National as it gains access to other states in the future.
The Future of Sports Betting in the Unites States
Sports betting in the United States has seen steady, and sometimes explosive, growth since the Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in a 2018 ruling, which allowed all states to decide if and how they wanted to offer legal wagering on sports. Without PASPA, the state of Nevada was no longer provided with a virtual monopoly on offering sports betting to its residents and visitors.
Since 2018, almost 30 states have approved sports betting, with several more sure to follow in their footsteps. One of the most recent to come on board was Florida, which became the largest state to legalize sports betting when its legislature approved an agreement that Governor Ron DeSantis had hammered out with the Seminole Tribe, which has exclusive rights to operate casinos in the nation’s third most populous state.
For the two biggest states, sports betting is probably two years away for California and Texas, both of which look to generate significant revenue once they can get the practice legalized. In Texas, their legislature will address the issue again in 2023 after failing to approve anything in 2021 and California voters will have an opportunity to vote on a ballot initiative during the November, 2022 General Election.