Despite Penn Entertainment’s new sports betting deal with ESPN, Pennsylvania online casinos won’t see much of a difference compared to other states.
Penn Entertainment is expected to partner Hollywood Casino PA‘s brand with ESPN. However, Pennsylvania is the only state where Hollywood has a standalone app. It’s already ahead of the game.
Hollywood to merge PA online casino with ESPN Bet
While ESPN is launching a new sportsbook, it does not appear there will be an ESPN-branded online casino. Penn Entertainment CEO, Jay Snowden, said during a Q2 2023 earnings call that each state will, at some point, launch a standalone Hollywood online casino app:
“We thought it was a good time for us to pivot to really focusing on Hollywood Casino and the Hollywood brand.”
Pennsylvania is the only state where Hollywood has a standalone online casino app right now. Nothing is going to be different in that regard for Keystone State players. However, when ESPN Bet launches, players across all jurisdictions can expect the Hollywood online casino to merge with the sportsbook.
“If you’re in the state of Pennsylvania, for example, and you’re within ESPN Bet betting on sports, you’ll be able to wager by clicking on the Casino icon and go to Hollywood Casino seamlessly within the same app and platform the way that you can today between Barstool Sportsbook and Barstool iCasino,” Snowden explained.
Why ESPN Bet won’t have a branded online casino
Penn Entertainment opted to use its own brand and a known quantity in the gaming industry to grow its online casino.
Hollywood Casino already has an online presence in Pennsylvania, with the addition of four retail properties:
- Penn National Race Course
- The Meadows
- York (mini-casino)
- Morgantown (mini-casino)
Hollywood at Penn National Race Course (PNRC) and Hollywood at The Meadows are both in the top 10 in slot revenue among retail PA casinos. The Meadows recorded $169.2 million in slot revenue (fifth) and PNRC amassed $150.6 million (seventh) in the Fiscal Year 2022/2023.
“We’ve invested a lot of capital across the portfolio, and we’re very proud of that Hollywood brand. We think that it creates a really nice linkage from digital online casinos,” Snowden said. “We think in markets where we’ve got land based casinos, branded Hollywood, it creates a really nice cross-sell opportunity, not just digitally but also on the brick-and-mortar side.”
During Penn Entertainment’s Q2 2023 earnings call, it was never apparent that ESPN would have a branded online casino. Why?
“We’re of the opinion, as I think most are, by the way, that you really need multiple brands long term,” Snowden explained.
That’s not to say ESPN will never have a branded casino, but as of now, Penn Entertainment isn’t considering the thought.
Hollywood Casino performance in Pennsylvania market
Pennsylvania is the only state Hollywood’s online casino operates in at the moment. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) does not break down online casino revenue by operator. It’s difficult to tell exactly where Hollywood ranks among operators within the Keystone State.
Hollywood’s online brand is under its parent company’s license. Hollywood Penn National also partners with DraftKings, BetMGM, PointsBet and Barstool. The license leads the state with $426.1 million in yearly revenue. Rivers Casino Philadelphia, partners with Borgata, BetRivers and SugarHouse, has generated $209.4 million in 2023. FanDuel and Stardust, in partnership with Valley Forge Casino, recorded $206.8 million in revenue.
Hollywood Penn National being partnered with the two top operators in BetMGM and DraftKings certainly helps with revenue totals. FanDuel, BetRivers and Caesars are also likely ahead of the Hollywood brand.
Hollywood is probably in the middle of the pack among the 21 online casino operators in PA. The brand is in competition with operators such as Borgata, betPARX, SugarHouse and formerly Barstool Casino.
Penn Entertainment would not be rolling out the Hollywood online casino in other states if it didn’t like Pennsylvania’s performance.
It’s betting on its own brand. Let’s see how far it takes them.