The Koolest Kid on The Block, Penn Buys the Bar

Penn National Gaming is accelerating its convergence into a 360-entertainment provider by taking full control of hip Barstool Sports in a deal worth US$387 million (£329.4m/€390.3m).

Earlier this month the predominantly racetrack and land casino owner changed its name to Penn Entertainment in affirmation of its new “cooler” corporate strategy.

In 2020 it bought a 36 per cent stake in Barstool for US$161.2 million (£137.21/€162.5).

Now it’s taking full control, with the aim of further building Barstool’s sportsbooks brand and engaging a younger gaming demographic.

Yet Penn’s affiliation with Barstool has not been without its controversies.

Barstool founder Dave Portnoy is currently mired in complex legal proceedings centring on allegations of sexual misconduct. Claims he strenuously denies.

Despite the allegations, the charismatic Portnoy remains active on the East Coast gaming scene, although it’s not known what his precise role will be in the new Barstool iteration.

Promoting Penn’s current pathway, the company’s President and CEO Jay Snowden said: “Our new name maintains ties to our legacy, while better reflecting our evolution into North America’s leading provider of integrated entertainment, sports content and casino gaming experiences.

“Over the past few years, Penn has [been] transformed through a highly differentiated strategy focused on organic cross-sell opportunities, reinforced by our investments in retail casinos, sports media assets, owned technology — including a state-of-the-art digital sports and online casino betting platform and an in-house iCasino studio.”

Penn, which owns 44 properties, including four in Pennsylvania, is valued at $US5.67 billion (£4.82bn/€5.71bn).

It reported revenue of US$1.6 billion (£1.36bn/€1.61bn) for the second quarter of 2022, up five per cent, year-on-year.

Last September, in a major move on Canada’s nascent iGaming market, it bought that country’s top betting app and platform, theScoreBet, for US$2 billion (£1.7bn/€2.01bn).

The Barstool Sportsbook app is currently live in a dozen US states, among them Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

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