Penn National Inc. and Barstool Sportsbook Prepare For A Huge 2021

Penn National Inc. agreed to acquire Hollywood Casino in Perryville, Maryland on Tuesday. The $31.1 million deal will allow Penn National to launch its Barstool Sportsbook in another state in 2021. This a crucial purchase for PENN as the company prepares for legalized sports betting in Maryland. On November’s election day, Maryland voters overwhelmingly approved legal sports betting.

Penn National CEO Jay Snowden on the purchase said, “This acquisition provides another opportunity to expand our unique omnichannel platform with a Barstool-branded retail sportsbook and mobile app.”

The shocking purchase by PENN is a strategic one as 2021 is shaping up to be its biggest year yet. Snowden also predicts that Barstool Sportsbook and Casino will be live in 12 more states by the end of 2021. It would appear that the Maryland acquisition will be finalized by mid-year 2021.

With Penn National Gaming stock surging over $80 per share, PENN is preparing to dominate 2021 similar to its strong 2020. This has been an impressive year for the gambling company, which has seen well over 100% gains in the calendar year. Expect 2021 to be very fruitful as PENN pushes to launch in every state that offers legal sports betting. Snowden said in October:

“As you get into 2021, I think you should expect for us to be in every state that’s legal, where we operate, and can launch by the end of 2021. We’ll be in over a dozen states by the end of the calendar year.”

Where And When Will Barstool Sportsbook Launch In 2021?

New Jersey: Expected launch Q2 2021 or later.

  • Barstool Sportsbook needs a partner as they do not own an Atalntic City casino. Furthermore, Freehold Raceway has been attempting to get a license for two years now. This could be PENN’s entrance into the massive New Jersey market. Jay Snowden believes that they will be able to launch before the end of 2021, but Freehold Raceway will need to continue to build the infrastructure and then complete the application. There is still some leg work to be done before a launch can be expected.

Colorado: Expected launch Q1 or Q2 2021.

  • Unlike New Jersey, Barstool Sportsbook does have a clear entrance point in Colorado. They are already operating a retail sportsbook at Ameristar Black Hawk Casino. This should give Barstool the right of passage to launch their app sooner rather than later. It will be interesting to see if Barstool Sportsbook pushes to launch prior to the Super Bowl or not.

Maryland: Expected launch Q3 or Q4 2021

  • PENN just bought Hollywood Casino Maryland, so they have the partner to make this a reality. However, the deal does not close until mid-2021. Then Barstool Sportsbook will apply for a license and jump through any regulatory hoops that Maryland will require prior to launch. The football season is the hope for Barstool Sportsbook, but the launch could come later.

Illinois: Expected launch Q2 2021

  • Barstool Sportsbook has multiple partners in Illinois, making it easy for them to find a dance partner. Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker has extended the state’s online registration option multiple times, allowing people to register for sportsbook accounts without visiting a property. Should those extensions lapse without Pritzker renewing them, it presents an issue to casinos who would then need to rely on in-person registrations. Right now it seems barstool will bide its time until Covid-19 related closures wind down in the Land of Lincoln. After that, expect a full-fledged sportsbook launch.

Indiana: Expected launch Q3 2021

  • There are very few details about the anticipated launch date for Barstool Sportsbook in Indiana. For now, all we know is that they will be partnering with either Ameristar East Chicago or Hollywood Casino Lawrenceburg. Snowden seems confident that they will be ready for launch prior to the end of 2021, I would expect it is before the NFL season begins.

Michigan: Expected Launch Q1 2021

  • Michigan sports betting has been legal since March of this year. However, this only included retail sports betting and not online sports betting. It has been a huge topic of conversation as online betting was recently pushed back to January of 2021 at the earliest. Barstool has already said they are prepared to take bets on day one in Michigan. They are currently operating a retail sportsbook at Greektown Casino.

Virginia: Expected Launch Q2 2021 or Later

  • Virginia online sports betting has not yet launched but it is written into legislation. As far as we know, Barstool Sportsbook has not yet filed for a license. This would put them slightly behind schedule as FanDuel, BetMGM, and DraftKings have already submitted their applications.

West Virginia: Expected Launch Q1 or Q2 2021

  • Barstool Sportsbook has an immediate partner with Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races. They already intend on operating their retail sports betting casino within the state so expect this to happen sooner rather than later. Rest assured, West Virginia should see an early 2021 Barstool Sportsbook launch.
About the Author

Erich Richter

A New York based freelance writer and gambling expert specializing in the sports industry. Written on numerous platforms with SEO certifications and a diehard Mets, Giants and Knicks fan (it’s been tough). Interests include keeping up to date on the newest features and technologies from sportsbooks since beta testing several of the legal gaming companies upon their inception.