Penn Entertainment is forced to make several drastic changes in quick order after separating from Barstool Sports and partnering with ESPN. With four Pennsylvania casino locations in the state, Penn Entertainment is removing the Barstool Sportsbook brand from its properties.
Switching brands at the retail sportsbooks is one of many adjustments to come for Penn Entertainment. Whether the casinos plan to rebrand as ESPN or Hollywood Casino remains to be seen.
Barstool Sportsbook branding in Hollywood PA casinos to be changed
After three years in sports betting, Barstool is exiting the industry with less than stellar numbers to report, especially in Pennsylvania. Barstool generated just 4.3% of market share in July 2023.
Penn Entertainment switched gears, ending its partnership with Barstool and forming a new one with ESPN.
All of Penn Entertainment’s retail sportsbooks in Pennsylvania are Barstool-branded. During Penn Entertainment’s Q2 2023 earnings report, company CEO, Jay Snowden, addressed plans for the retail locations:
“[Barstool] need[s] some support from us as we transition, and we’re going to need to have some time to obviously get the ESPN Bet app launched as well as take down some of the Barstool-specific branding inside of our retail sportsbooks.”
Snowden has made it clear that the ESPN Bet launch is the priority.
Penn CEO unsure which brand will replace Barstool
Penn Entertainment has a decision to make. It can either replace the Barstool brand with its new partner in ESPN or its own Hollywood brand.
It took a rather interesting approach when opting to launch a standalone Hollywood Casino app that will also integrate with the upcoming ESPN Bet. Many predicted, or would have thought, that ESPN would have a branded online casino.
Now the question is, what replaces Barstool in Penn Entertainment’s four Pennsylvania retail locations? Snowden isn’t sure himself.
“With regard to what that does end up being or looking like, that’s a TBD,” he said. “We’re still working through ESPN. Folks have not had a chance to visit our properties yet. So we’re going to go through a process.”
Penn Entertainment is betting on its Hollywood brand to carry the online casino platform. It wouldn’t be shocking if the company keeps the casino theme consistent and opts for the Hollywood name inside PA casinos, too.
Hollywood Casino retail PA sports betting performance
Though Hollywood Casino York and Morgantown are technically located just outside the Philadelphia metro area, their performance is as expected for PA mini-casinos.
Hollywood Casino York finished FY 2022/2023 with $12.1 million in retail sports handle, as Hollywood Casino Morgantown generated $10.2 million.
Live! Casino Pittsburgh, another mini-casino, fared better, posting $18.7 million in handle. It also out-performed Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course, a Category 1 casino. Hollywood’s Grantville location took in $17.4 million in total bets.
Positioned just outside of Pittsburgh, it’s not surprising that Hollywood Casino at The Meadows is the best performing retail sportsbook among the collection. It recorded $20.7 million in land-based sports handle.
Except for one, Hollywood’s locations do not reside in the city of a major sports team, as do some other properties in the state. Facilities such as Rivers Casino Philadelphia, Live! Casino Philadelphia and Parx Casino easily out-performed Hollywood Casinos. Here are some FY 2022/2023 totals from the top retail sportsbooks:
- Rivers Casino Philadelphia: $96.6 million
- Parx Casino: $73.8 million
- Live! Casino Philadelphia: $67.8 million
All of Hollywood’s locations are on a similar level with Valley Forge and Wind Creek Casino, which generated $25.1 million and $16.1 million, respectively, in FY total bets.
What Penn Entertainment decides to do could impact revenue for the future. Either way, Snowden is confident in whatever brand he chooses to represent his retail sportsbooks. He said last month:
“There can potentially be some ESPN-branded retail sportsbooks. And if not, we still have what we believe to be best-in-class destinations on the retail sports betting side, and sports bars connected to almost all of them.”