Barstool Sportsbook & Penn National Will Continue To Ride The Wave Of Success

Written By Nicholaus Garcia on October 6, 2020 - Last Updated on December 4, 2023

Barstool Sportsbook is a hot trend. That’s not a statement; it’s a fact. Like a sounder of pigs, Wall Street analysts have been listening to the grunts and snorts of 66 million Barstool Sports followers, the cohesive chants in perfect harmony as they worship their deity, Dave Portnoy.

The chanting continues, and Penn National Gaming’s stock continues to surge. This is what the casino company has been counting on.

Penn saw something when it partnered with the no-filter sports media company, and after it recently sold 16.1 million shares of stock to raise $982.1 million in gross proceeds, the only place left to go is up. Now, experts can’t stop talking about it, which plays into Portnoy’s hand and works to Penn’s advantage.

Judging the Barstool Sportsbook numbers

During a recent appearance on Squawk on the Street, renowned financial analyst Jim Cramer said, “[Penn National] is the best casino gaming stock to own in the world.”

I’m no expert on the stock market, and I don’t pretend to be, but if someone like Cramer is high on Penn, it’s for a valid reason. One reason could be the clout Portnoy carries and his uncensored plan to push his product at all costs. Before, it was sports media; now, it’s sports betting.

PlayPennsylvania’s own Valerie Cross wrote, “It’s hardly surprising that Portnoy’s touting of how great the Barstool app launch has been in PA also boosted Penn stock.” As of this writing, Penn stock ($PENN) is hovering around $69.16, down from its 52-week high of $76. But regardless of how people try to spin it, the numbers are exceptional.

When the Barstool Sportsbook app launched on Sept. 18, it saw 24,000 registrations, 30,000 downloads in Pennsylvania and 180,000 downloads in the US, all in its first four days.

Experts analyze these numbers and compare them to the grand scheme of things, which is fair. But regardless, the “Stoolies,” aka the devout followers of Barstool Sports, have arrived and will only continue to multiply.

Room for growth in sports betting and online casino

Penn National isn’t suddenly going to be the No. 1 sportsbook in the US overnight. The app has only launched in one state, so that’s impossible. Hell, not even Patrick Mahomes was able to take the Kansas City Chiefs to the Super Bowl right away — he did that in year three. The Barstool Sportsbook app saw 150,000 downloads in states where sports betting isn’t even legal yet. These future sports bettors won’t catapult Barstool to the top, but it does signal that they are patiently waiting to help expand the brand.

While this legion of followers helps Penn, its primary business is still casinos. Right now, Penn is battling two wars: the sports betting front against DraftKings and FanDuel, and the casino front against companies such as Boyd Gaming and Caesars Entertainment.

FanDuel and DraftKings are and will remain at the head of the pack. But their competition is steadily creeping up behind them at a rapid pace.

All three are suitable contenders for online gambling supremacy, especially when the trend is becoming publicly traded companies. But it’s still too early to determine how lucrative the US online casino and online gambling sectors can become.

Howard Klein, publisher of The House Edge, a casino investment site, may have said it best when he wrote, “DraftKings and Penn National are both good companies, along with six other key competitors.”

“A good time to revisit an entry point will be about halfway through the NFL season … for now, unless you are a short-term round-tripper believing all the dumb money that has migrated into the [online gaming] sector will continue flowing, just watch and wait.”

Photo by Chris Van Lennep / Dreamstime
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Nicholaus Garcia

Nick Garcia is a senior reporter for PlayUSA. Garcia provides analysis and in-depth coverage of the gambling industry with a key focus on online casinos, sports betting and financial markets. Garcia has been covering the US gambling market since 2017. He attended Texas Tech University as an undergrad and received a Master of Arts in Journalism from Columbia College Chicago.

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