Poker With Portnoy? Penn National Beats Q1 Projections, Teases Plans For Barstool Games

Posted By Kevin Shelly on May 6, 2021 - Last Updated on May 8, 2021

Before the crucial but boring financial details from Penn National Gaming’s Q1 earnings announcement Thursday, we bring you big news for Stoolies.

Penn plans to make it possible to bet against Dave Portnoy, Dan “Big Cat” Katz, and others in the Barstool Sports universe.

Play casino games with Portnoy and other Barstool personalities

So shortly after announcing first-quarter results such as net income of $91 million, after reporting a loss the same period a year ago, CEO Jay Snowden spilled the big news. Soon, online casino players will be able to bet against Portnoy, founder of Barstool, of which Penn owns 36%.

Just days ago, PlayPennsylvania told readers Penn is forming a design studio, allowing them to form an in-house content team. Penn is acquiring HitPoint Studios, Inc. and its spun-off real money gaming company, LuckyPoint Inc.

Snowden said Penn is already working on creating a way to allow players to take on Barstool personalities.

Said Snowden, “you should anticipate Dave Portnoy, blackjack games and Big Cat, craps and roulette and their dealers and their players, and they’re interacting and talking with you, and there’s all sorts of fun stuff that we have planned.”

Motley Fool has a complete transcript of the entire call posted.

In the earnings press release, Snowden emphasized Penn’s unconventional approaches, hinting customers can continue to expect more:

“With a very strong start to 2021, our goal is to continue to disrupt the gaming industry and position Penn National for ongoing growth through unconventional and fresh approaches. The broader acceptance of sports betting and the greater consumer adoption of technology, which was accelerated by the ongoing pandemic, have been some of the key drivers behind our strategic initiatives.

“Looking ahead, I am confident that Penn National will look significantly different in the next three to five years than it does today as we remain committed to breaking from the conventional wisdom in terms of how we operate and engage our customers.”

A strong Q1 for Penn National

So, back to the money matters.

On a per-share basis, the Pennsylvania-based company had a profit of 55 cents. That was well ahead of Wall Street’s expectation, which was just 30 cents per share.

The casino and online gambling operator had revenue of $1.27 billion in the period, surpassing Street forecasts. Analysts had expected $1.14 billion.

Penn National Gaming stock shares have risen nearly 6% since the beginning of the year. The stock has increased fivefold in the last 12 months.

Online casino launched and two mini-casinos coming to PA for Penn

On Monday, the company launched a Barstool-branded online casino in PA, joining the existing sports app for Stoolies. It also joins Penn’s Hollywood online casino offering in PA.

And Penn has plans to open two PA mini-casinos, one by August, and one more by the end of the year.

But the company has traded down in April after hitting a record in March.

In fact, shares dropped nearly 9% today after the announcement and the market’s opening.

Additional online sportsbook rollouts coming for Penn National

Snowden said he expects to add eight more states for online sports betting before football season and 10 by the end of the year.

While he did not specify states or a timeline, Snowden called New York a “conundrum” – he does have a Harvard degree – with many details to sort out.

Snowden also said retail books in casinos would continue to get rebranded as Barstool to take advantage of the buzz around Barstool’s name. That should help convert casual customers to regulars at Penn properties. Hollywood Casino at Penn National has yet to rebrand its retail sportsbook to Barstool.

Many Stoolies are new to Penn’s casinos. When they come, they play mostly table games and eat at the property, Snowden said. He said those Stoolies who come to a casino usually sign up for a MyChoice rewards card.

According to Snowden, Stoolies tend to be 21-years-old to 27-years-old, with an average age of 25. They bet smaller amounts but more often, and frequently chase parlay wagers.

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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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