Barstool Makes It 10 Sportsbooks on Tap in PA; Portnoy Calls It “Step 1 of World Domination Plan”

Posted on September 15, 2020 - Last Updated on October 30, 2020

The much-anticipated Barstool Sportsbook is now live in Pennsylvania.

It comes with an army of fans, bombastic “El Presidente” David Portnoy and high hopes from Penn National.

After a three-day test period, the Barstool Sportsbook achieved regulatory approval from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. It will now be available 24/7 to people 21+ physically located in Pennsylvania. Users can access it via desktop or by downloading it in the Apple App Store.

Through Barstool’s partnership with Hollywood Casino, Pennsylvania will be the first state in which it launches its sportsbook. A press release indicated that Penn National plans to bring the Barstool Sportsbook app to additional states in the coming months.

Invite-only launch

Barstool is the 10th online sportsbook in Pennsylvania. It is the first to limit the number of users during the test period.

During Penn National’s January acquisition of Barstool, Penn touted its 66 million monthly unique visitors. Jay Snowden, president and chief executive officer of Penn National, said:

“We believe the significant reach of Barstool Sports and loyalty of its audience will lead to meaningful reductions in customer acquisition and promotional costs for our sports betting and online products, significantly enhancing profitability and driving value for our shareholders.”

Of course, all 66 million people aren’t located in Pennsylvania, nor are they all going to download the app. However, the arrival of Barstool’s sports betting product comes with much anticipation and an already built-in audience.

Portnoy calls PA step one in plan for world domination

At around 1 p.m. EST on Sept. 15, Barstool went fully live. An email was sent from Portnoy shortly after to the site’s users. It said that Pennsylvania was “just step 1 of our world domination plan.”

“We plan to quickly launch in every state where sports gambling is legal. Just like how we’ve built this company brick by brick, we will launch state by state and give each state the attention it deserves.

“Obviously, my haters, of which there are many, are hoping we fail. Well, I have an undying faith in the loyalty of our fans that make me believe we will do what we always do, and that’s shut up the critics and astound Wall Street with our performance.”

The email ended with Portnoy saying that the Barstool Sportsbook app can be downloaded no matter where your location is. (However, you won’t be able to play until is legal in your state).

Portnoy bets big on Phillies and Pirates

Portnoy didn’t waste any time placing bets on the Philadelphia Phillies and the Pittsburgh Pirates.

 

A look at Barstool Sportsbook

Barstool Sportsbook comes with the standard wagering options and in-game wagering, cross-sports parlays, moneylines, futures, teasers, round robins and numerous prop bets. Deposit and withdrawal methods are similar to other PA sportsbook apps.

Barstool Sportsbook exclusives:

  • Barstool Personality Picks and Parlays: Daily opportunities to follow or fade the Barstool team’s picks and parlays
  • Quick Pick 6: A system-generated, random six-leg parlay where bettors can control the legs and the wager
  • Daily Odds Boosts

Also, the app has a “Move the Line” scroller that allows users to buy and sell points by using a scroller button.

Penn National betting big on Barstool

In late January, Penn National Gaming acquired a 36% stake in Barstool Sports for $163 million in cash and stock. The transaction valued Barstool at $450 million. The agreement gives Penn National the sole rights to use the Barstool Sports brand for its online sports betting and online casino products.

At the SBC Digital Summit North America in July, Jay Snowden, president and CEO of Penn National Gaming, discussed the acquisition.

“We knew the one thing that we were missing from a sports betting perspective at Penn was a brand to lead with and an audience to market to. We had great casino brands, but our audience today tends to skew older — 45-plus — and the sports bettors tend to skew younger — 21 to 45 — so that’s where we started to look at who we might want to partner with, and of course we eventually bought Barstool.”

“We’re going to lead with the Barstool brand from an online sports betting perspective,” he said. “We’re also in the process of converting our existing retail sportsbooks inside of our casinos and our sports bars to Barstool branded sportsbooks and sports bars.”

Penn National stock soars on Barstool launch day

Penn National Gaming stock ($PENN) opened Nasdaq trading at $65.54 a share on Tuesday. It hit a 52-week high of $69.77 a share at around 11:25 a.m. But it beat that on Friday with a new high of $76.62. $PENN closed on Friday at $70.55

Penn’s stock gained steam when it announced the Barstool deal in late January. It wasn’t immune to the jarring effects of COVID-19 and sunk to less than $4 a share in March. But it bounced back in July, reaching $37 a share, then came on strong in late August at $56.

A book with interesting characters

With the arrival of the Barstool Sportsbook, Pennsylvania will have 10 online sportsbooks. However, until now, only Fox Bet has used personalities to market its product.

The Barstool Sportsbook will be unique in that it’s a sports media company entering the sports betting vertical. Also, no other sportsbook has an outspoken and sometimes controversial face of the product like Portnoy.

Said Snowden during the SBC Digital Summit:

“We obviously spent a lot of time doing diligence on Barstool, and we got very comfortable with making an investment in Barstool. Dave Portnoy and the folks at Barstool are a sort of meshing of Sports Center and Howard Stern and reality TV. It’s a sports media company, but at the end of the day, these are entertainers. They create content — they’re comedians.”

Penn’s latest gaming app joins its current offering of a Hollywood online casino and sportsbook.

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Katie Kohler

Katie Kohler is a Philadelphia-area based award-winning journalist. She covers the Pennsylvania gambling industry with an emphasis on sports betting, online casino/poker and the lottery.

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