Barstool Grabs Pennsylvania Foothold

One of the fastest-growing sports betting brands in the US has continued its expansion, with a new operation targeting one of the nation’s biggest sports betting sectors. 

Penn National’s Barstool Sportsbook brand, which is powered by betting technology company Kambi, launched in Pennsylvania last month, after a long period of preparation, just in time to take bets on the new NFL season, which launched in the middle of September. 

The arrival of Barstool in Pennsylvania has been a long time coming. Sports betting fans, rival operators, and the stock market, have been anticipating the debut of the sportsbook in the state since Penn National acquired a 36% stake in the company back in January, and the news that Barstool would be launching its Pennsylvania operation has given a further boost to shareholders. 

For Penn National, the partnership with Barstool makes a lot of sense, as the President and CEO at Penn, Jay Snowden, explained at the time of the launch:

“Since forming our exclusive sports betting and iGaming partnership with Barstool Sports in January, our product, marketing, and operations teams have worked hand-in-hand with Barstool’s top talent… to create a sports betting experience that we’re confident will appeal to Barstool’s army of loyal followers, as well as our extensive database of existing casino customers and sports betting fans at large.”

Michigan and New Jersey Next

The successful launch in Pennsylvania is not likely to be the last move that Barstool Sportsbook makes as it looks to establish its share of the new sports betting market. According to Snowden, both New Jersey and Michigan are on the agenda over the coming weeks. 

Both of those states share a legal online casino and sports betting infrastructure with Pennsylvania, which makes them the ideal locations for a company that now has an interest in both sectors. Snowden and his company are firmly focused on gaining a big slice of those markets, and stock market analysts have been optimistic about the prospects for expansion. 

New Jersey remains the biggest state for sports betting outside of Nevada, with revenue of $45 million for the month of September. This status is both due to its location on the east coast, with links to one of the biggest sports markets in the world, and the fact that New Jersey was at the forefront of the campaign to legalize sports betting, eventually setting up its market in June 2018. 

Neighbouring Philadelphia, which also benefits from a thriving sports scene and proximity to the New York area, launched its sports betting market five months later than the Garden State, at the end of 2018 and is fighting hard for the third spot in the sports betting rankings. 

By comparison, the Michigan sports betting sector had made a slow and belated start, launching in March this year, shortly before all major sports in the country were shut down due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, there is considerable potential in the state, which saw revenue rise from $1.6 million in August, its first full month of operation, to $4.3 million in September. 

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