Barstool Sportsbook has fallen on tough times among PA online sports betting platforms in recent months.
Penn Entertainment bought Barstool earlier this year with the expectation that an existing customer base would lessen the marketing burden. Barstool’s loyal following was also supposed to help gain market share across Pennsylvania, especially.
Barstool Sportsbook has taken a dramatic performance hit after the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) released handle figures in May.
Another PA sportsbook passes Barstool in May handle
Pennsylvania sportsbooks reported $495.6 million in handle last month, as legal states are experiencing a summer slide with a lighter sports calendar. While sportsbooks are expected to slow down around now, Barstool Sportsbook has been declining in market share for several months. The media company generated $21.5 million in total bets in May, its second-lowest output ever within the market.
The handle itself isn’t as concerning as market share. Since March 2023, Barstool has yielded market share to Caesars and BetRivers for the first time since entering the PA market.
In December 2021, BetMGM also overtook Barstool and has not looked back. Over the last 18 months, Barstool has given way to three PA sportsbooks. It had already been behind market leaders FanDuel and DraftKings.
Here are some Barstool Sportsbook handle figures and facts over the past three months of May, using PlayPennyslvania’s revenue tracker:
- 2021: $45 million (ranked third behind FanDuel and DraftKings)
- 2022: $34.4 million (ranked fourth behind FanDuel, DraftKings and BetMGM)
- 2023: $21.5 million (ranked sixth behind FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM, Caesars and BetRivers)
Barstool’s strongest months occurred in December 2020 and February 2021, when the company generated 13.2% of market share in each month. That number has plummeted to 4.3% in May 2023.
Barstool sports betting market share dipping in other states
Pennsylvania is not the only state Barstool is sliding in. Barstool Sportsbook in Michigan reached 12.5% in market share in May 2022. The Michigan Gaming Control Board reported just a 7.5% market share in May 2023.
May figures have not been released yet in Illinois, but Barstool has dipped there, too. In April 2021, Barstool commanded 9.6% of market share and in April 2023, that number has fallen to 3.9%.
Penn Entertainment first invested in Barstool to leverage a customer base already created by the media company. In a Q1 2020 earnings call, Penn Entertainment CEO, Jay Snowden, made the following remark:
“We believe the Barstool brand and marketing engine should help drive meaningful market share as the product is introduced. Barstool has shown continued success in utilizing emerging platforms to expand its reach.”
While Penn Entertainment thought it had a marketing advantage by investing and fully acquiring Barstool, market share has diminished across multiple states.
Barstool Sportsbook customer conversion does not exist
To make matters worse, in a hearing involving a potential Barstool responsible gambling violation, an attorney representing Penn Entertainment claimed it did not have any data on Barstool entertainment consumers using the sportsbook.
Earlier this month, Commissioner of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC), Jordan Maynard, asked Penn Entertainment’s attorney, Morgan Lewis Partner Jonathan M. Albano, about such data existing. Albano responded:
“May I have a moment to, uh?…Right, and so the answer I’m getting, and I’d be happy to follow up after the hearing with a submission but what I’m hearing now is that the short answer is no. But again, I’d be happy to submit a letter after the hearing to explain.”
After Snowden touted Barstool’s reach, it’s not only surprising to see the sportsbook dip in market share, but also not have relevant data in regards to entertainment and sportsbook users.
Could new product developments help Barstool?
In Penn Entertainment’s most recent earnings call, Snowden said that the Barstool product is “substandard” because it is not using its own platform. In July, Penn Entertainment is scheduled to move Barstool’s services off Kambi to its own proprietary trading platform.
After the migration, Penn Entertainment’s fully-owned offering is to provide:
- An expanded product offering
- Deeper media and betting integration
- System stability
- Personalized promos
- 3rd party cost savings
Snowden said the migration will allow Penn Entertainment to be more aggressive in marketing and focus on a personalized customer experience:
“Having full control of our product roadmap in the US will enable us to connect with our customers on a more personalized level and quickly add new features in betting markets to the Barstool Sportsbook, while also enhancing our iCasino products with new content and bonus mechanics.”
Perhaps a platform overhaul can help Penn Entertainment and Barstool reclaim their footing in the sports betting industry.