Barstool Sportsbook Launching Nationwide In 2021
Following a preliminary launch of the Barstool Sportsbook betting app in Pennsylvania last month, the app will be available in all legal states next year. This announcement came in mid-October via an interview with Jay Snowden, the CEO of Penn National Gaming, with acquired a significant stake in Barstool Sports in late January, 2020. Since the test launch of the Barstool Sportsbook, said Snowden, the companies are scaling accordingly.
Barstool Sportsbook: The Alliance of Two Power Players
Barstool Sportsbook is the culmination of a significant deal brokered between Penn National Gaming and modern sports media giant Barstool Sports at the end of January of this year, when global gaming industry titan Penn National acquired 36% of the media company in a deal totaling around $136 million.
At the time, a central stipulation of the deal was that Penn National Gaming would be titled the sole betting partner of Barstool Sports, and would remain so for a total of forty years following. Barstool Sports enthusiastically agreed to the arrangement, with founder Dave Portnoy stating that the move into sports betting was long desired by the company.
When Penn National Gaming formally staked its claim on buying a significant portion of Barstool Sports, Dave Portnoy later revealed that a number of other well-known American betting companies were also competing to become Barstool Sports’ betting buddy, including Rush Street, MGM, FanDuel and William Hill.
In September, App Soft Launches To Success
In early September of this year, Penn National and Barstool Sports soft launched the Barstool Sportsbook for the first time. In a special promotion for selected beta testers over the weekend of September 18, 2020, a controlled group of players in Pennsylvania were allowed to give the app its first paying clients.
Representatives from both companies stated that, should the test run prove successful, the app would be launched statewide for all customers immediately thereafter. Apparently, the results proved so successful the companies are doing that and then some: just over a month later, Penn National CEO has announced the app will launch nationwide next year.
According to Jay Snowden, The Details
In a televised interview with FOX Business, Penn National Gaming CEO Jay Snowden revealed that the soft launch of the app, paired with COVID-related exponential growth of the American legal sports betting industry, has meant that the companies plan to launch Barstool Sportsbook in all states where sports betting is legal by the end of 2021.
According to Snowden, the Barstool Sportsbook app was downloaded 21,000 times during its first month in Pennsylvania. A particularly impressive element of the Barstool Sportsbook success in Pennsylvania last month was that the companies reportedly did not advertise the app for its first two weeks on the market.
Today, the implication is that the app is being advertised in Pennsylvania, and Snowden has not yet updated the statistics to let analysts know the numbers of registrations and downloads in the weeks following the Barstool Sportsbook’s initial launch. Still, the app will launch in Michigan in November, and will likely find success there, too.
Snowden Stays Cagey On Whether iGaming Will Beat Out IRL
In the interview, Snowden was asked by Liz Claman if he believed that the land-based gambling options offered by Penn National Gaming are likely to be overshadowed by the growth of online gambling. As casinos around the world suffered devastating revenue losses due to enforced lockdowns, this question has proven of vital international importance.
Snowden, whose company runs 41 land-based casinos in 20 states, did not comment as to whether he believes that this is an eventuality. Rather, he refocused on the promise of the growing online gambling — and particularly, legal sports betting — landscape, which has been demonstrably, and significantly, expanding in the US since the pandemic.
Still, Snowden indicated that he felt that this success is just the beginning for the Barstool Sportsbook app. As he mentioned, only a few US states had moved to legalize sports betting pre-pandemic — citing Pennsylvania, as well as New Jersey. Today, eight months since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, those numbers are changing.
Legal Sports Betting Is Exploding In The US
It’s quite likely that the landscape for legal sports betting will be dramatically different at the end of 2021, when the Barstool Sportsbook app intends to launch in each state where sports betting is legal. Since the onset of the pandemic, a significant number of states have dramatically altered preexisting gambling laws in the attempt to earn new revenue.
In states including California, Ohio, Louisiana, and Illinois, new laws have already been passed or are being passed regarding legal sports betting. Several additional states, such as Maryland, are adding new voting measures to November ballots for local voters to decide whether or not to legalize betting.
Motivations To Legalize Sports Betting
The coronavirus pandemic has been profoundly difficult for the American economy, as the US has suffered the greatest number of COVID-19-related deaths of any country in the world. Today, states around the country are eagerly seeking a means to earn additional revenue, as taxes or fees on legal gambling can contribute significantly to public funds.
Pushes to legalize sports betting in different states has come from a number of advocates, from local legislators — like Governor J.B. Pritzker in Illinois — to invested citizens, like former WNBA player and Maryland resident Marissa Coleman. Some betting companies, like DraftKings and FanDuel, have also thrown their weight behind these campaigns.