Could Barstool Sportsbook Be Destined For The Las Vegas Strip?

Posted on February 11, 2020

There could be a Barstool Sportsbook on the Las Vegas Strip, whether Penn National keeps its current southern Nevada casino or not.

The Tropicana could be the perfect spot to bring its recently announced minority ownership of Barstool Sports to Nevada sports betting.

But publicly-listed Penn has also made no secret of its attempts to sell the Tropicana. There’s been active unsolicited interest from potential buyers, CEO Jay Snowden said.

There are other ways to make sure the brand has a Strip presence, though.

Other casinos could get a Barstool Sportsbook

Penn National would be open to talking to other Strip casino operators that are looking to do something unique and different, Snowden said.

And that might not just be for the Strip, either. There could be partnerships signed in states where Penn National isn’t to extend the Barstool Sportsbook brand, he added.

“We, obviously, feel great about our sports betting strategy, and we want to be where sports betting is legal,” Snowden said. “And so the nice thing about what Penn has today is, we not only had enough skin to partner with four really good companies, to give them access and return for a combination of equity upfront cash, and in every case, revenue share, but we still have enough second and third skins in a number of our markets that we can do some bartering, some trading to get into other states maybe in return to give them access into states that we’re in.”

Those opportunities might be few and far between, however. Penn has 41 casinos across 19 states, many of which are found in legal sports betting states.

Mobile is future, but retail has its place

There’s no question the majority of sports betting handle comes from mobile devices.

Just look at Pennsylvania. More than 70% of all handle came from online despite operating mobile launching in May.

But retail sportsbooks aren’t going anywhere. The books provide a great point of contact for casinos to push their mobile components. They can also boost the bottom line, and not just from betting.

Take Penn National’s Hollywood Lawrenceburg in Indiana as an example. The property had retail Indiana sports betting in the fourth quarter of 2019 compared to no book in 2018.

That property had table game and food revenue growth of just under 20% with slot growth of more than 3%. In total, the property’s management said the sportsbook accounted for 10% of its EBITDA.

Spillover play argued in sports betting debates

There’s at least one case of a casino operator suggesting sports betting should be limited to only casino operations because of that kind of incremental revenue.

Cordish Cos., operator of Live! Casino in Maryland, wants racetracks and off-track betting facilities kept out of sports betting. That’s because the state would make more off gaming taxes if those sports bettors only go to casinos and not the tracks, the company claims.

Cordish estimates that spillover play could amount to as much as $115 million in annual gaming revenue.

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Matthew Waters

Matthew Waters is a reporter covering legal sports betting and the gambling industry. Previous stops include Fantini Research and various freelance jobs covering professional and amateur sports in Delaware and the Philadelphia area.

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