Next Up for Barstool: Michigan and NJ, Retail Sportsbooks and the Sandwich Game

Posted on October 9, 2020 - Last Updated on October 16, 2020

Dave Portnoy‘s bravado domination plan for Barstool Sports in the world of sportsbook apps with its 36% partner, Penn National Gaming, so far remains at Step 1 about a month after rolling out in Pennsylvania in mid-September.

And now it is just 20 days before an earnings call for ultra-hot $PENN stock on Oct. 29. Whether the company gets any other jurisdictions online before that remains to be seen, but it appears unlikely.

Penn National stock moved up based on Barstool

PENN stock, driven by Stoolies, is having a good run since the Wyomissing, PA-based gaming company invested in Barstool.

Well, except for a pandemic nosedive in March that took it down to $3.75. Recovered, the stock topped out at more than $76 a share.

But this week, the shares are down and look to close around $65. And while most touts from the market have been upbeat, some, like Deutsche Bank, have been extremely cautionary.

Penn National planning for expansion while Portnoy makes noise

There are signs that the Barstool Sportsbook app could come next to Michigan, and also eventually to New Jersey and elsewhere. Penn has 41 gambling properties across 19 states, though not all of them have or will have online sports betting.

Eric Schippers, Penn National senior VP of public affairs and government relations, confirmed to PlayPennsylvania Friday that the next state in which it’s planning to roll out is Michigan.

The much-anticipated Barstool app had an auspicious debut as the 10th online sports betting app in PA.

According to Penn’s leader, Jay Snowden, there were approximately 24,000 registrations in its opening weekend, with approximately 30,000 PA downloads and approximately 180,000 downloads in the United States.

During its launch weekend, the app was the most downloaded of any sports-related app.

It looks to place among the top three apps in PA once full numbers are out.

Retail Barstool books coming soon to MI and PA

One thing that has not happened yet is the rebranding of the retail sportsbooks at Penn National’s Hollywood Casino or at the book it operates at The Meadows.

But while the retail book (on the second floor) at Hollywood remains closed, as it has been since the virus shutdown in mid-March, sports bettors still have options at the Grantville, PA, property. According to Schippers:

“We are still operating a retail sportsbook area on the main casino floor that is temporarily located in the H-Lounge, with ticket writers located at the casino cage. The H-lounge has sportsbook-style and restaurant seating, and serves all your favorite food and beverages while [you’re] watching your favorite team. We also have 15 sportsbook wagering kiosks that are located on the casino floor.”

Regarding Barstool rebranding, Schippers confirmed, “We plan to open a state-of-the-art Barstool Sportsbook at another location on the main gaming floor in the first half of 2021.”

It appears, then, that Greektown Casino-Hotel in Detroit, another Penn National property, will be the first to open a retail Barstool Sportsbook. The Michigan casino plans to debut the retail book in late November, according to PlayMichigan. With online sports betting due in the Wolverine State around the same time, Penn National also looks to be one of the first mobile betting apps to market.

Portnoy making the PA rounds

And while Portnoy has relentlessly hyped his newfound connection to PA, with overnighters in Pittsburgh and Philly, fueled by his trademark pizza reviews along the way, not everyone fell for his newfound love of all things PA.

Scoffed the PGH City Paper, “It’s pretty clear the only reason he’s in Pittsburgh is to market and promote his Barstool Sportsbook betting app, which is now available to Pennsylvania customers.”

But some locals love the Portnoy effect.

According to the Philadelphia Baseball Review, he made fans out of the endangered La Salle University baseball program. He’s planning a pizza review in the school’s Philly neighborhood and assists in fundraising to save the team, which the administration has targeted for elimination.

“If La Salle gives me an answer on how I can save that baseball team, then I’ll [expletive] save the baseball team,” Portnoy said while livestreaming.

And Barstool is doing local promos for free sandwiches from Primanti Bros. in and around Pittsburgh and from Primo in the Philly area, with a freebie on Mondays for betting on the winning hometown team with the Barstool app.

Fingers in other pies

Meanwhile, Erika Nardini, the so-called token CEO of Barstool, just joined the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) board.

And Portnoy is busy saying he’s unlikely to re-up with Sirius, the satellite radio provider. He recently tweeted:

“I’d say we’re 99.9% out of Sirius. We aren’t in the same stratosphere in terms of negotiations. We will just move on to new platforms as always. Our crowd will follow as always.”

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Lead image via Greektown Casino twitter.

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Kevin Shelly

Kevin C. Shelly is an award-winning career journalist who has spent most of his career in South Jersey. He's the former assistant city editor of The Press of Atlantic City, where he covered the casino industry and Atlantic City government as a reporter. He was also an investigative, narrative enterprise, and features reporter for Gannett’s Courier-Post.

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