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Penn National (PENN) Rides on Robust Demand for Sport Betting

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Penn National Gaming, Inc. (PENN - Free Report) continues to benefit from sports betting legalization, increased focus on cordless, cashless and contactless technology, and acquisitions. However, coronavirus pandemic and intense competition remain concerns. Let’s delve deeper.

Growth Drivers

Being a leading gaming company in the United States, Penn National is known for its consistent business strategies and strong brand recognition. Through various acquisitions and divestitures, the company expanded its presence. It continues to broaden and leverage its brand power.

Most of the gaming companies are now banking on sports betting following its legalization outside Nevada. Penn National has announced historic strategic partnerships with DraftKings, PointsBet, theScore and The Stars Group.

The company is focused on collaborating with various gaming companies to leverage its unique brands, cater to large audiences and fulfill commitments to serving sports fans. The company remains optimistic regarding the immense brand value of Barstool and theScore. The acquisition of theScore, which is the strongest sports brand of Canada, will automatically drive Penn National’s brand expansion in the country. Along with the amplification of the company’s brand value, the buyout will help to cross-promote and cross-market between two large brands.

During fourth-quarter 2020, the company implemented the MyChoice reward program across all of its properties and online channels. The initiative covers more than 20 million members across its land-based casinos and online platforms, thereby offering players a wide range of incentives. The company joined hands with Choice Hotels to offer reciprocal earning and redemption benefits for Choice Privileges members and members of Penn's MyChoice loyalty program.

On Jan 22, 2021, the company unveiled Barstool Sports online sports betting app in Michigan. Penn National witnessed solid demand and acquired a significant number of new customers on the back of Barstool media partnership tools. Its Barstool Sportsbooks and iCasino offerings in Michigan and Pennsylvania continue to drive the company’s performance. On Mar 11, 2021, Penn National launched the Barstool Sportsbook app in Illinois. In second-quarter 2021, the company remained focused on iCasino offerings that included the addition of more third-party content, opening of a Barstool-branded live dealer studio in New Jersey and the launch of the first in-house developed, Barstool-branded online table and slot games by 2021-end.

Penn National, which shares space with Boyd Gaming Corporation (BYD - Free Report) , Caesars Entertainment Corporation (CZR - Free Report) and Century Casinos, Inc. (CNTY - Free Report) , continues to shift toward the new generation of cordless, cashless and contactless technology, collectively known as 3C’s. Amid the ongoing pandemic, such initiatives are likely to improve efficiency and customer service, thereby boosting the top line. Going forward, the company plans to launch the 3C's across its casinos in Pennsylvania. It also intends to roll-out in other regions, subject to regulatory approvals. During June 2021, the company successfully launched its 3C technology at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course. This was followed by another implementation of 3C at the Meadows Casino in mid-July.


The coronavirus pandemic has negatively impacted the casino operators and Penn National is no exception. The pandemic has dramatically reduced travel and demand for casino gaming and related amenities. The spread of the Delta variant might hurt the company further.

The gaming industry is an intensely competitive one. Penn National is continuously facing intense competition from various casinos, video lottery, gaming at taverns and other internet wagering services.