Barstool Sportsbook App Will Arrive in Time for Football Season, According to CEO Nardini

Posted on: June 26, 2020, 10:39h. 

Last updated on: June 26, 2020, 11:56h.

Penn National Gaming’s (NASDAQ:PENN) sports betting mobile application featuring Barstool Sports branding should be ready to go in time for the 2020 NFL season, says Barstool CEO Erika Nardini.

Barstool Sports Betting App
Barstool Sports CEO Erika Nardini, seen here in 2016, says the company’s sports betting app will debut in time for football season. (Image: Getty Images)

Earlier this year, the regional gaming company paid $163 million in cash and equity to acquire a 36 percent interest in David Portnoy’s pop culture and sports media site. It also gained rights to eventually own all of the property for $450 million. Penn’s Barstool stake gives the operator exposure to a younger, tech-savvy generation of gamblers, and is providing an impetus for analysts to grow increasingly bullish on the stock.

Penn National is the largest retail casino operator in the country. That gives us a massive footprint of very big casino establishments to put (Barstool) Sportsbook into,” said Nardini in an interview with Fox Business.

Under the terms of the companies’ agreement, Penn’s mobile and brick-and-mortar sportsbook outlets will bear the Barstool brand.

Personality Matters

Even before taking the stake in Barstool, Penn moved to bolster its presence in the booming US sports wagering market. Last year, the company’s Penn Interactive Ventures (PIV) unit struck a series of “skin” deals with sportsbook operators and betting technology companies in 16 states, some of which weren’t homes to legal sports wagering at the time.

The relationship with Barstool gives Penn an avenue for upping the sports wagering ante by tapping into the cult-like following of founder David Portnoy. Audacious, brazen, and often controversial, Portnoy brings something to the Penn stable rival gaming companies: a direct avenue for connecting with the prized millennial and Generation Z demographics, which are social media and tech-savvy.

Barstool started as a sports media and pop culture blog, with articles ranging from the off-the-field trysts of athletes to Portnoy’s reviews of New York-area pizza parlors. But the firm is moving deeper into sports wagering following the 2018 Supreme Court ruling on the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA).

Prior to the coronavirus sports shutdown, Portnoy was revered for making large bets, something he’s replaced with day trading stocks in recent months.

Good Timing

If the Barstool Sportsbook app meets the September debut date mentioned by Nardini, that positions Penn to capitalize on football, assuming the NFL and college seasons proceed as planned. In the US, football is the most wagered-on sport.

Launching the app puts Penn and Barstool directly into competition with the likes of DraftKings and FanDuel – two companies that not only dominate the sports wagering app market, but a pair that have also been Barstool advertisers.

Amid a recent resurgence of coronavirus cases in large states that are homes to multiple NFL franchises, including California, Florida, and Texas, observers have concerns about whether the league will launch its 2020 season on time and whether or not games will be played in empty stadiums.