- Penn National Gaming has announced the opening of three more Barstool Sportsbook retail locations.
- The gaming company entered into a partnership with Barstool Sports earlier this year.
- The first Barstool Sportsbook retail location opened at Colorado’s Ameristar Casino Resort in Black Hawk in early November.
Penn National Gaming entered into a partnership with Barstool Sports to give some brand identity to their retail and online sports betting platforms. The company had previously operated their sportsbooks under the name of each property–nothing wrong with that, but they didn’t have much personality. Barstool Sports has plenty of personality and brand identity and the company is in the process of revamping their sports betting operations under the new name.
The Barstool Sportsbook mobile app was the first to launch, entering ‘soft launch’ in Pennsylvania in mid-September. At the time of the launch, Penn National President and CEO Jay Snowden spoke of his company’s plans for the Barstool brand:
“The Barstool Sportsbook app is the centerpiece of our Company’s omni-channel strategy. Since forming our exclusive sports betting and iGaming partnership with Barstool Sports in January, our product, marketing and operations teams have worked hand-in-hand with Barstool’s top talent, including Dave Portnoy and Dan ‘Big Cat’ Katz, to create a sports betting experience that we’re confident will appeal to Barstool’s army of loyal followers, as well as our extensive database of existing casino customers and sports betting fans at large.”
“As the only gaming operator with a fully integrated sports media and entertainment partner, our customers will have the opportunity to engage with Dave, Big Cat and other Barstool fan favorites on our app – including betting with them, or fading their picks. Our customers will also have an opportunity to interact with Barstool personalities live at one of our many casinos’ retail Barstool Sportsbooks in the coming months.”
This set the stage for the launch of the first Barstool Sportsbook retail location in–where else–the sports betting mecca of Colorado. The Ameristar Black Hawk is the site of the Barstool retail location and hopefully I’ll get a chance to check it out live within the next couple of months (COVID-19 pandemic willing). CEO Snowden said that the Colorado location is just the beginning for the Barstool Sportsbook brand:
“We are very excited to be opening the first Barstool Sportsbook in the country at Ameristar Black Hawk. This will be the first of many new retail locations for Barstool Sportsbooks at our casinos nationwide. Each will incorporate several features that reflect the spirit of the Barstool Sports brand, resulting in unique sports betting experiences that we expect our customers will thoroughly enjoy.”
In the last few days of December, the Barstool Sportsbook retail footprint increased significantly. Retail locations were opened at two Indiana casinos–the Hollywood Casino Lawrenceburg and the Ameristar East Chicago–along with the Greektown Casino in Detroit. Smart move on the part of Penn National to get ahead of the game with their retail sportsbooks. The COVID-19 pandemic has definitely hampered the retail component of sports betting and as a result many companies operating in new jurisdictions have delayed the opening of retail outlets. At some point, however, there will be a ridiculous amount of pent up demand and Penn National will be in a great position to take advantage.
So let’s start with the competing press release quotes. Senior VP of Regional Operations for Penn National Rafael Verde is stoked to launch the rebranded Barstool Sportsbooks at the Indiana properties:
“We are very excited to be opening our newly branded Barstool Sportsbooks. The new designs incorporate the spirit of the Barstool Sports brand, resulting in unique sports wagering and dining experiences that we expect our customers will thoroughly enjoy.”
“Hollywood Lawrenceburg and Ameristar East Chicago have been offering sports wagering in Indiana for well over a year. The passionate sports fans in the Tri State area and Chicagoland have been eagerly awaiting the opening of our new Barstool Sportsbooks, and we look forward to introducing both in the coming days.”
John Drake, Vice President and General Manager at Greektown Casino, had similar sentiments about the Barstool Sportsbook location opening at his property:
“We are thrilled to be opening our new Barstool Sportsbook. The new design showcases the spirit of the Barstool Sports brand, resulting in an outstanding sports wagering experience that we expect our customers will thoroughly enjoy.”
“The passionate sports fans in Detroit and throughout Michigan have been excitedly awaiting the opening of our new Barstool Sportsbook. We look forward to welcoming them when we reopen the casino tomorrow evening (December 23).”
The Barstool Sportsbook branding is one of the more interesting storylines in the US betting ecosystem at the moment. Although there have been ‘licensed brands’ in casinos for years–mostly in the form of slot machines–I’m not aware of a ‘branded sportsbook’ previous to Barstool. Barstool Sports is a ridiculously popular website and in his own unique way Dave Portnoy is one of the most charismatic and intriguing corporate leaders in business today. We’ll talk more about Barstool Sportsbook and the implications it has for the US sports betting industry down the road.