Penn National Jumps on NFL In-Game Betting Deal, Illinois Reopening News

Posted on: July 1, 2020, 09:37h. 

Last updated on: July 1, 2020, 01:00h.

Penn National Gaming (NASDAQ:PENN) stock rallied Wednesday, getting a spark from reopening three casinos in Illinois and a deal with Sportradar for NFL in-game betting. After slumping 17 percent over the past week and almost eight percent in June, shares of Penn are higher by almost five percent today.

Penn National Stock Booms On NFL Deal
The Hollywood Casino in Aurora, Ill., one of three Penn National venues in the state reopening today. (Image: Chicago Sun-Times)

On Wednesday, the regional gaming operator said its three casinos in Illinois and its Prairie State Gaming video gaming terminal (VGT) operations are again open for business. Over the course of the gaming industry reopening, Penn stock displays correlations to positive news pertaining to the company’s marquee markets.

The Land of Lincoln fits that bill, as Penn is the largest operator there. Penn’s Prairie State operates the Argosy Alton and the Hollywood casinos in the Chicago suburbs of Aurora and Joilet.

With today’s Illinois news, Penn confirms that 34 of its 41 gaming venues — or 83 percent of its portfolio — in 14 of the 19 states in which it does business are open again.

“With additional states preparing for the resumption of gaming operations, the company will provide updated information on its scheduled property reopenings as it receives final approval from state regulators,” the company said in a statement.

The Tropicana on the Las Vegas Strip and the slots-only Plainridge Park Casino in Massachusetts are two of the seven Penn venues that are still closed.

Illinois Intrigue

Operators with Illinois footprints, including Penn, are getting the green light to reopen casinos just in time for the return of traditional sports. Later this month, the NBA and the NHL will resume the 2019-20 seasons, and Major League Baseball is targeting July 23 or 24 as Opening Day.

The Prairie State approved sports betting last year and it went live there in March, but when the coronavirus pandemic struck, it forced the cancellation or postponement of heavily bet sporting events and leagues, keeping the state’s aspirations of becoming the sports wagering hub of the Midwest on hold.

Both Penn’s Argosy and Hollywood casinos hold Illinois sports betting licenses. During the gaming industry COVID-19 shutdown, Illinois removed a requirement mandating gamblers register for online wagering accounts at retail sportsbooks. That could be a boon for Penn as it launches the Barstool Sportsbook app in September.

Some experts say the state could become the biggest sports betting center in the country thanks to Chicago’s enthusiasm for professional sports, its large populations, and its an established history (albeit illicit) of sports betting.

Going to the Gridiron

Separately, Penn said today it reached an agreement with sports information provider Sportradar to use NFL data on Penn wagering platforms, including the Barstool Sportsbook app.

With the Sportradar deal, Penn said it can offer “in-game wagering options on NFL games at its retail sports betting locations and on its Barstool Sportsbook app.” Live betting is one of the fastest-growing segments of the broader sports wagering universe.

The gaming company owns 36 percent of Barstool Sports. Its brick-and-mortar and internet sportsbooks will bear Barstool branding.