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Penn National Set To Launch Barstool Sportsbook App In Illinois

James Murphy
by in Gaming Industry on
  • Penn National Gaming has announced the launch of their Barstool Sportsbook mobile app in Illinois.
  • The gaming company entered into a partnership with Barstool Sports earlier this year.
  • The Barstool Sportsbook mobile app is also available in Michigan and Pennsylvania.
  • The first Barstool Sportsbook retail location opened at Colorado’s Ameristar Casino Resort in Black Hawk in early November.

Penn National Gaming (NASDAQ: PENN) needed a property like Barstool Sports to give some much needed ‘personality’ to their retail and online sports betting platforms. Before Barstool, they operated sportsbook under the name of the individual property like ‘Ameristar Black Hawk Sportsbook’. Nothing wrong with that, but it doesn’t create much of a brand identity and that’s important for a company that is national in scope. Barstool Sports definitely has personality and Penn National is in the process of revamping their sports betting operations under the new name.

Earlier today, Penn National announced that the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) had approved their application to offer sports betting in the state. Penn National owns and operates three properties in the state of Illinois–the Argosy Casino Alton, the Hollywood Casino Aurora and the Hollywood Casino Joliet. All three properties have retail sportsbooks but as noted above they still have the generic ‘Sportsbook at Casino X’ nomenclature. At some point, presumably, they’ll be rebranded under the Barstool Sports name. The Barstool app’s official casino ‘partner’ in Illinois is the Hollywood Casino Aurora though all the websites of all three properties are promoting the launch:

The Barstool Sportsbook App will launch on March 11, 2021.

The ‘coming soon’ now has a specific date and time attached. According to the Penn National press release the Barstool Sportsbook will go live for iOS, Android and desktop users at 12:00 PM Noon Central Time on March 11, 2021. Jay Snowden, President and CEO of Penn National, is clearly excited about bringing his sportsbook brand to another state:

“We are extremely excited to launch our online Barstool Sportsbook in Illinois just as the college basketball regular season wraps up and bettors begin their preparations for March Madness. Dan ‘Big Cat’ Katz started Barstool Chicago in 2012 and has worked with Chief, Eddie, Carl, and ‘White Sox’ Dave to develop a tremendous following across the state by covering all things Windy City through daily blogs and social media content, including the immensely popular ‘Red Line Radio’ podcast. As the only gaming operator with a fully integrated sports media and entertainment partner, our customers in Illinois will now be able to engage with these Barstool personalities through the online Barstool Sportsbook and enjoy their unique take on Chicago sports.”

Snowden also thanked Illinois gaming regulators as well as platform providers Kambi and White Hat Gaming:

“On behalf of the Penn Interactive team and our partners at Barstool Sports, I want to thank the IGB for their approval of our online sports betting application. Alongside our risk management and platform providers, Kambi and White Hat Gaming, we have developed an online sports betting app which is attracting new and existing Penn National customers as evidenced by our performance to-date in Michigan and Pennsylvania. We are eager to leverage the building momentum for the Barstool Sportsbook app with our launch in Illinois and the additional launches we have planned for 2021.”

When the Barstool app dropped in Pennsylvania last December CEO Snowden had these comments about the importance of the brand to Penn National’s sports betting efforts:

“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.”

The Barstool branding is starting to roll out nationally. Penn National launched the first Barstool Sportsbook retail location last November in sports betting epicenter Colorado. In addition to this location at the Ameristar Black Hawk the company has since opened retail outlets in Indiana at the Hollywood Casino Lawrenceburg and the Ameristar East Chicagoalong with the Greektown Casino in Detroit. As CEO Snowden noted above the Barstool mobile app is live in Michigan and Pennsylvania. Penn National has also secured access in New York for the Barstool app but that is contingent on the Empire State not completely screwing up their regulatory framework for mobile betting.

At the time of publication, James Murphy has a long position in PENN.

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