PlayUSA Rewind: Penn National Nabs Barstool Sports As Exclusive Gaming Partner

Posted on February 4, 2020 - Last Updated on February 20, 2020

This is the holiday season of legalized sports betting.

First, the Super Bowl, followed by the Oscars. Then, a new football season, that of the XFL, kicks off. Before you know it, conference basketball tournaments are tipping off and March Madness will arrive.

New states will debut regulated sports betting industries within the next few months; others will introduce legislation to legalize wagering, while others will continue to bolster their existing verticals.

With such rapid expansion, stakeholders are champing at the bit to pad their portfolios.

Speaking of which, let’s get to the Rewind.

Big bet on Barstool Sports

A gaming giant out of Pennsylvania is expanding its reach. And not in the traditional sense.

Penn National Gaming landed a deal to acquire36% stake in the well-known media platform Barstool Sports. Penn National will reportedly shell out a cool $163 million in cash and stock. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2020.

In return, Barstool — widely known for its male-centric and often controversial content — becomes the recognizable brand longed for by Penn for its online casino app and mobile sportsbook. All told, Barstool Sports will serve as Penn National’s exclusive gaming partner for up to 40 years.

Penn National intends to leverage the Barstool brand for online table games as well as an online sportsbook. According to Legal Sports Report, the first Barstool Sportsbook could crop up in West Virginia in early 2020.

Penn National boasts 14 retail sportsbooks nationwide, which could increase to 20 by the year’s end.

Nevada sports betting soars again

The hits just keep on coming for Nevada sports betting.

Despite growing competition throughout the country, Nevada continues to set state records. In 2019, the first full year of state-sanctioned wagering outside the Silver State, Nevada exceeded $5 billion in handle for just the second time. Its total of $5.3 billion represents a 6.2% increase from the previous year’s total.

As a result, revenue for the year also set a record, a total of $329.1 million that reflects a 9.3% spike.

This all comes courtesy from a strong December, during which Nevada sportsbooks combined for $571.1 million in handle and $36.3 million in revenue.

While certainly justified for celebrating, Nevada will definitely have its hands full moving forward. After all, New Jersey just closed out a $4.6 billion year, its first full calendar year with legal sports betting.

Regardless, Nevada has proven that the growth of state-sanctioned wagering will have no effect on its industry.

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Super Bowl betting bigger than ever

Ahead of Super Bowl LIV, the American Gaming Association announced that about 26 million American adults would wager on the Big Game. According to AGA projections, a jaw-dropping $6.8 billion would stem from Super Bowl betting.

Bill Miller, president and CEO of the AGA, noted why, and it’s no secret. The country boasts 14 states with legal sports betting in operation.

The AGA survey estimated that nearly 4 million Americans would visit a retail sportsbook to bet on the Super Bowl. Some 5 million would wager via legal and illegal online sportsbooks. And, of course, millions more expected to participate in office or family pools or lay money down with local bookies.

Compared with 2019 estimates, the AGA calculated a 25% increase in visitation to regulated retail operations and a 19% jump in legal online sportsbook visits.

There is no sign of this pace slowing, as Miller believes that legal sports betting will operate in as many as 30 jurisdictions by 2021.

Grant Lucas Avatar
Written by
Grant Lucas

Grant Lucas is a longtime sports writer who has covered the high school, collegiate and professional levels. A graduate of Linfield College in McMinnville, Grant has covered games and written features and columns surrounding prep sports, Linfield and Oregon State athletics, the Portland Trail Blazers and golf throughout his career.

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