Penn National Gaming Donates $1M to Barstool Fund Supporting Small Businesses

Posted on: January 5, 2021, 11:00h. 

Last updated on: January 5, 2021, 12:43h.

Penn National Gaming, the largest regional casino operator in the United States, has committed $1 million to the Barstool Fund.

Penn National Barstool Sports Portnoy
Penn National Gaming, the casino stock that’s making Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy (right) a very rich man, has given $1 million to his charitable fund. (Image: Barstool Sports)

The Barstool Fund supports small businesses that are struggling during state-ordered COVID-19 restrictions. Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy launched the fund in December with $500,000 of his own money.

Penn National acquired a 36 percent stake in Portnoy’s Barstool Sports just prior to the pandemic. The Pennsylvania-based casino operator paid $163 million in January of 2020 for its Barstool position.

Already, over $18 million has been raised to provide ongoing support,” Eric Schippers, Penn National’s senior VP of public affairs and government relations, told

As of this writing, the Barstool Fund has raised more than $18.4 million from 145,233 supporters. Seventy-six businesses have been provided with essential funds.

Small Business Bailouts

Dave Portnoy has been an outspoken critic of certain COVID-19 lockdowns and state orders that have caused otherwise profitable businesses to risk closure.

“I’ve been ranting and raving about the plight of small businesses. How do you expect these people to survive?” Portnoy asked during the launch of the fund last month. “Nobody seems to care in the government. No plan, no relief, no bailout.”

Portnoy established the fund to help businesses in need. His celebrity has ushered in more donations.

To qualify for relief through the Barstool Fund, small businesses must continue paying their employees during reduced or closed operations. Businesses must inform the Barstool Fund of what they need to survive another month. Once approved, businesses can receive additional money to make sure a one-time relief payment isn’t for nothing.

Many more businesses will receive distributions with Penn National’s $1 million donations.

“We’ve been so inspired by our partners at Barstool Sports and their help for small businesses that we are committing $1 million to the Barstool Fund,” Penn National Gaming said in a LinkedIn post.

The $1 million contributions matched the $1 million given by Pete and Burson Snyder, the founders of the 30 Day Fund that also helps small businesses. The Barstool Fund works in support of the 30 Day Fund. Pete Snyder is an entrepreneur and marketing executive who founded New Media Strategies.

While many gaming stocks have been battered during COVID-19, Penn National actually prospered in 2020.

Traded on Nasdaq, Penn National shares began in 2020 at $26.93. They fell to $4.52 in March, but have surged ever since. The stock closed out in 2020 at $86.37. This was a more than 220 percent increase from where they started the year.

Brighter Future

Penn National shares continue to show investor enthusiasm, the stock up another six percent today. Casino executives believe a considerable pent-up demand to get out, travel, and gamble will result in a strong 2021.

Penn National recently opened three Barstool Sportsbooks. The company’s Greektown Casino in Detroit opened the day before Christmas Eve. Barstool sports betting venues also opened ahead of the holiday at Hollywood Casino Lawrenceburg in Indiana, and Ameristar East Chicago.