Penn National Gaming Leveraging Barstool, Portnoy to Join NFT Craze

Posted on: April 26, 2021, 10:21h. 

Last updated on: April 26, 2021, 01:23h.

Penn National Gaming (NASDAQ:PENN) is finding unique ways to capitalize on its stake in Barstool Sports. It is now entering the hot non-fungible token (NFT) space with an image of the media company’s founder, David Portnoy.

Portnoy NFT
Barstool Sports founder David Portnoy pictured at an event above. He’s selling an NFT to drum up interest in Barstool Sportsbook. (Image: Variety)

The brash, ubiquitous Portnoy, famed for his reviews of local pizzerias, is the centerpiece of the NFT called “One Bite Pizza Review of Blocks Pizza Deli (Miami) — Featuring Guy With No Arms.”

“Dave reviews Blocks Pizza in Miami and honors Kobe Bryant while a guy with no arms passes by. This NFT is limited to just one edition and will never be minted again,” according to Barstool.

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The non-fungible token featuring Barstool Sports founder David Portnoy that’s up for auction. (Image: Barstool Sports)

At this writing, the high bid on the token is $6,523.39, up from $2,620 just a few hours ago.

Barstool Sportsbook Angle

Barstool Sportsbook is a centerpiece of Penn National’s growth strategy, and there are some ties between the burgeoning online sports betting unit and the NFT auction.

Not only will the winning bidder procure the aforementioned token, that person will also get the opportunity to watch a game with Portnoy. During that event, the Barstool boss will put a bet on the game equivalent in size to the top bid on the NFT. If the wager wins, Portnoy “will refund the winning bid to the winning bidder,” according to Barstool.

Portnoy holds no official executive position at Penn National Gaming. But in investment circles, he’s often seen as the face of the company. Blunt and controversial, he’s been a consistent cheerleader for Penn stock, criticizing analysts that dare be bearish on the shares. He’s also essential to Penn’s personality-based model for Barstool Sportsbook — one that helps the gaming company cobble together market share without the significant customer acquisition costs faced by rival operators.

Barstool Pivotal to Penn Outlook

Last week, Moody’s Investors Service raised its outlook on Penn’s B1 credit rating to “stable” from “negative”, noting Barstool Sportsbook is part of the reason for that positive change.

“Positive consideration is also given to Penn’s minority ownership in, and relationship with, Barstool Sports, Inc., a digital sports media company, which Moody’s believes will enable the company to benefit in the retail and online gaming and sports betting markets,” said the research firm.

The mobile betting app is live in Illinois, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, with Penn targeting Indiana and New Jersey as the next states it will bring the wagering platform to. It’s expected Barstool Sportsbook will be live in 10 states by the start of the 2021 NFL season.

What’s an NFT?

A non-fungible token (NFT) is a unit of data stored on the blockchain. NFTs can be applied to a variety of digitized items, such as audio and video files as well as pictures.

Driven in large part by scarcity, NFTs recently became an investable asset class, with one produced by the artist known as Beeple selling for more than $69.3 million at a Christie’s auction.

That’s, by far, the highest price paid to date for an NFT. But others have stretched into the millions of dollars. For example, a buyer paid $2.9 million in March for the first tweet sent by Twitter founder and CEO Jack Dorsey.

Other well-known companies getting in on the NFT craze include Playboy and baseball card giant Topps.