Penn to Launch Standalone Hollywood Casino App Early 2025

Penn Entertainment’s Hollywood Casino will launch a standalone online casino app in early 2025, CEO Jay Snowden said during a recent earnings call.

Today, Hollywood Casino is only available to players in legal online casino states through the ESPN Bet sports betting app. During the call, Snowden said Hollywood Casino is “probably the only major player” without a standalone app.

During the follow-up Q&A, he added that Penn’s online casino players won’t have to wait long for the new platform.

We will have that ready to go in very early ’25, hopefully, a little earlier, but we’ll say early ’25.

Snowden noted a possible disconnect for online casino players who must download ESPN Bet to play blackjack or access Hollywood’s online slots. He said the standalone Hollywood online casino app should help remove that friction.

When you’re talking about activating your land-based casino database and they’re sitting at a Hollywood property but they have to download ESPN BET in order to play the online casino, the messaging gets a little bit cluttered or confusing. So that’s something that we know is going to be a real shot in the arm for us once we deploy our standalone iCasino app.

Penn Open to Sports-Casino Crossovers

Even without the standalone app, Snowden said Penn’s online casino business is “seeing improvements,” which he classified as “great.” Online casino, he said, is a “huge opportunity” for Penn, and the finished casino product is “going to look great” after “a little more time.”

Penn expects the casino line of business to continue improving with the launch of Hollywood’s casino-only app.

Further out, despite trailing today, Penn expects its online casino market share to “be right there” with its online sports betting uptake, he said.

We think that we’ve got the right people and the right plans in place to be able to close that gap over time as we grow our market share in OSB, we should be growing our share in online casino.

Todd George, Penn’s VP of operations, said the team “could not be more excited” about the potential for Hollywood Casino’s upcoming offerings.

The volumes that we’re seeing in iCasino right now are super encouraging.

George also nodded to the “talented group of folks at Penn Game Studios” and hinted at possible future sports/casino game crossovers.

In Toronto, we introduced our Blue Jays Blackjack game, and it’s really taken off. So we’re looking for those types of opportunities as we come to the US.

Standalone Online Casinos May be More Appealing

Standalone apps may be more appealing to pure casino players than hybrid apps which emphasize the sports betting product.

Demographics may factor into that, as sportsbook branding tends to skew towards men. The appeal of casino games is more gender-neutral, and slots even skew slightly towards women. It’s easy to see how offering single-vertical products in addition to hybrid apps could simplify marketing and broaden a brand’s overall appeal.

Take Tipico, which operates online sportsbooks in New Jersey, Colorado, Ohio, and Iowa, and Tipico Casino in New Jersey. Late last year, Tipico updated its casino app, shifting the macho branding to a softer, more approachable feel. In Tipico’s case, the switch was expressly to appeal to a broader demographic, particularly women. Circulating rumors have even suggested that Tipico may sell off its US-facing sportsbook entirely.

The gender issue runs even deeper for Penn, which has just completed its rebranding from Barstool for both verticals to ESPN Bet for sports and Hollywood for casino. Even without a standalone app, the switch to Hollywood branding is already paying dividends.

Since removing the Barstool brand from its Michigan products, Penn has seen its online casino revenue jump. In December 2023, its first full month of operation post-Hollywood refresh, Penn earned a record $6,436,300—nearly double its October win.

Hollywood’s spike in revenue post-shift from Barstool’s infamous “dudebro” aesthetic suggests the macho vibe may have kept away some potential customers. Letting the brand shine on its own instead of hiding behind ESPN Bet may compound those gains.

About the Author

Robyn McNeil

Robyn McNeil

Robyn McNeil (she/they) is a Nova Scotia-based writer and editor, and a lead writer at Bonus. Here she focuses on news relevant to online casinos, while specializing in responsible gambling coverage, legislative developments, gambling regulations, and industry-related legal fights.
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