While big names like DraftKings and FanDuel currently dominate the mobile sports betting landscape, smaller fish are beginning to nip at their heels. For example, Penn National Gaming, which currently operates several brick-and-mortar casinos throughout the United States, has acquired companies to build its own competing sports betting app.
Penn National acquired Score Media and Gaming Inc on August 5th, sending the sports digital media company’s stock skyrocketing 79% during regular trading hours. With this acquisition, Penn plans to build on its current goal of creating a sportsbook app that includes up-to-date sports gaming news, creating a unique experience for its users.
Penn National Gaming Fights For Market Share
Penn believes it can use its loyalty app, which is currently nearing 400,000 downloads, to convince players to download the mobile sportsbook they launched in conjunction with Barstool Sports. After acquiring a 36% stake in Barstools sports, a lesser-known but aggressively male sports media company, Penn National Gaming launched Barstool Sportsbook.
Barstool Sportsbook first began operation in September of 2020 in Pennsylvania. In its first week of operation, it dealt with almost $11 million in wagers. In January of this year, Barstool announced they would be expanding their sportsbook into the state of Michigan.
In July of 2021, Barstool announced it would become the sponsor of the Arizona Bowl, which will take place on December 31st. They further expanded their reach this August, when their parent company Penn National Gaming acquired Score Media and Gaming Inc for $2 Billion dollars.
Dave Portnoy, the founder of Barstool, plans to merge mobile sports betting and sports news, hoping to increase the engagement of his users and boost sports betting revenue. The acquisition of Score Media only serves to further this goal, as they occupy a strong position in the sports media space.
Acquiring Score Media
The acquisition of Score Media and Gaming, formerly a competitor of Barstool Sports, is a solid symbol of the continued growth Penn National Gaming has in the sports betting space. Though they only currently operate in two states, Pennsylvania and Michigan, they are building momentum in establishing a presence in the growing sports gambling market.
Penn Gaming’s purchase of Score Media was fueled by several factors, including their impressive handle per user and bet rates. They also have a high user retention rate compared to their competitors, and their broad reach saves the company on future content marketing fees. TheScore app also boasts an active user count of 4 million, says a report released in May of this year.
Score media’s users combined with Barstool Sports’ rabid fanbase give Penn National gaming an incredible edge in marketing their sportsbook services. Estimates of Penn’s spending on promotions show it loses far less capital than its competitors FanDuel, DraftKings, and MGM resorts international.
Though Barstool sports users are excited about the upcoming changes to its sportsbook app, Barstool does not anticipate a significant change in its operation until the first quarter of 2022. The Score, which operates its own sportsbook operation called TheScore Bet, will be going live in Ontario, Canada, around the same time.
Barstool sports, at the behest of the new parent company Penn National Gaming, also plans to open several physical locations for its sportsbook in Philadelphia and Chicago. This comes shortly after the establishment of the Barstool Fund.
In a move that benefits society and is a massive boost to the company’s PR, Barstool has established the Barstool fund. This charity serves to help small business owners impacted by the lockdowns put into place to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. Barstool has raised nearly $42 million so far, with 443 businesses currently being supported by the fund.
Sportsbetting Grows More Competitive
Competition is heating up quickly in the United States’ growing sports betting space. With companies like Penn National Gaming gobbling up valuable media and sportsbook companies, they are positioning themselves to challenge current industry giants for that valuable market share.
As they continue to build, only time will tell whether they overtake current industry leaders like DraftKings or lose the foothold they have established in the sports betting arena. Who knows what company Penn Gaming will acquire next and how it will help them build their sports betting empire.