“One bite everybody knows the rules,” Dave Portnoy says during his famed One Bite pizza reviews. He always takes more than one bite which perfectly fits Portnoy’s brand…and who can stop after one bite of pizza?
Portnoy and Barstool aren’t stopping at one retail sportsbook in Pennsylvania either. The first Barstool Sportsbook on the East Coast opened at Hollywood Casino York on August 12 and there are plans for more.
Pennsylvania-based Penn National Gaming bought a 36% stake in Portnoy’s Barstool Sports in January 2020. Pennsylvania was the first state to launch a Barstool online sportsbook in September 2020.
Barstool Sportsbook at Hollywood Casino
The sportsbook on the second floor at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course closed at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic and did not reopen when the casino resumed operations in June 2020. You can still place wagers at Hollywood Casino at the sportsbook window and kiosks.
During the media preview of Hollywood Casino York, Jeff Morris, the vice president of public affairs and government relations for Penn National Gaming, confirmed that a Barstool Sportsbook is coming to Hollywood Casino in Grantville and will be located in the spot of the now-closed Epic Buffet on the main level of the casino. Construction on the 11,000 sq. ft. Barstool Sportsbook at Hollywood Casino is scheduled to start on August 23 and Morris hopes it will be completed by the end of the year.
Veteran-owned and operated Tattered Flag will replace the Skybox Sports Bar on the second floor and open on Aug. 22.
Sportsbook at Hollywood Casino Morgantown
On the way to Hollywood Casino York, we pulled over on the Pennsylvania Turnpike to check out construction of Hollywood Casino Morgantown. A few friendly construction workers on a lift waved to us from afar.
Morris said that Hollywood Casino Morgantown will also have a Barstool Sportsbook.
BetMGM PA operates their online sportsbook in Pennsylvania through their partnership with Hollywood Morgantown. However, a brick-and-mortar casino can have a retail sportsbook from another operator. For instance, Live! Casino Philadelphia is home to a FanDuel Sportsbook and Betway sportsbook is their online partner.
Barstool in Philadelphia
During Penn National’s second quarter earnings call on Aug. 5, they announced that Philadelphia and Chicago are getting Barstool-branded sports bars.
“We are making progress on the build out of stand-alone Barstool-branded sports bars, with the initial locations in Philadelphia and Chicago scheduled to open later this year,” said PNG president and CEO Jay Snowden. No further details were provided.
Since it would be a Barstool-branded bar and not have a teller window or kiosks for betting, no regulatory approval would be required. If you are 21+ and physically located in Pennsylvania you can bet on the Barstool sportsbook app or any of the other thirteen PA sports betting apps.
Barstool sportsbook app
Penn National Gaming’s Q2 earnings call was overshadowed by their announcement of purchasing theScore for about $2 billion in cash and stock. PNG plans to use theScore, which is the top sports app in Canada, to complement Barstool sportsbook and bring its betting technology in-house.
The Score has a player account management (PAM) system and is still working on its proprietary sportsbook platform.
Why does this matter for Barstool PA sportsbook users?
It means that Barstool will no longer use the Kambi platform.
During Super Bowl LV, Barstool and a number of other sportsbooks who are powered by Kambi, crashed about an hour before Super Bowl and remained down for some users during the start of the most-bet event.
Barstool hosted Big Game Live Bet Showdown at Greektown Casino in Michigan for Super Bowl LV. A crashed app shut down the showdown and sent Portnoy on a tirade on live stream:
“The app is not working. It hasn’t been working for 45 minutes. F— everybody who is f—ing it up and they know who they are. They are catching f—ing hell right now because they are making me f—ing look bad and Penn look bad. F— the people who f—ed the app up.”
When Barstool announced they acquired theScore, Portnoy tweeted “ding” to someone who said Barstool didn’t want to be reliant on Kambi.
However, don’t expect immediate changes to the Barstool sportsbook app. The Barstool/theScore deal is scheduled to close in the first quarter of 2022.
Penn National and Barstool
Penn National’s aggressive bidding for mini-casinos shows they are serious about protecting the “mothership,” Hollywood Casino PNRC.
But why build Barstool Sportsbooks when about 90% of all bets in Pennsylvania are placed online?
- Build brand recognition and attract customers to download Barstool sportsbook and Barstool online casino.
- Barstool relies on organic marketing. You won’t hear ads for them on sports radio saying to download and use promo code “Stoolie” or commercials with Portnoy and Big Cat during Sixers games.
- Led by Portnoy, Barstool (the digital media company) creates lots of content and has a strong base of loyal followers.
Barstool sportsbook in PA
Barstool online sportsbook debuted in Pennsylvania in Sept. 2020. It reached a high for handle($71.8 million) and revenue (14.7 million) in Dec. 2020. In June 2021, handle reached a low ($31.8 million) and revenue sunk to $3.2 million.
Sports betting apps started launching in Pennsylvania in the summer of 2019. Two years later, an industry expert says it’s still too early to crown a winner despite FanDuel Sportsbook holding about a 40% market share.
Wayne Kimmel, managing partner at SeventySix Capital, offered his thoughts:
“It’s a big deal so far. With some of the new players coming in like Fubo, it will be interesting to see how that plays out. There are also some very large players and everyone is getting their feet set. I would be surprised if this lead they (FanDuel) have is as big as it is next year.”
Kimmel believes there are many people who don’t know you can legally bet on sports in Pennsylvania.
“You can make the argument we haven’t even got to the starting line. We are just scratching the surface and we are still really early.”
Lead photo by Katie Kohler.