Penn National Gaming lauds positive impact of Barstool Sportsbook in Q1 trading statement

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Penn National Gaming Inc has posted its Q1 update for the trading period ended March 31, 2021, claiming record results in the quarter from its land-based business and hailing the launch of its online Barstool Sportsbook in Michigan and Illinois.

During Q1, the firm generated revenues of $1,274.9m and adjusted EBITDAR of $447m, while revenues declined 6% compared to Q1 2019 pro forma results. Adjusted EBITDAR was up 7% and adjusted EBITDAR margins increased 434 basis points based on the company’s pro forma comparison.

Jay Snowden, President and CEO, commented: “Penn National kicked off the year with record results in Q1 2021 from our land-based business and the launch of our online Barstool Sportsbook in Michigan and Illinois. In addition, we fully integrated our mychoice player loyalty program across all our retail and digital offerings, which bolsters Penn National’s ecosystem and further expands our competitive advantage. 

“Equally exciting was our inclusion in the S&P 500 in March, which underscores the investment community’s confidence in our digital transformation and our position as the nation’s largest regional gaming operator. This milestone is a testament to the hard work, determination and commitment of all our team members at the property and corporate levels as well as our valued partners at Barstool Sports.”

On the financials, Snowden added: “The strong results were driven by contributions from the online Barstool Sportsbook and our icasino platforms, and land-based gaming properties despite COVID-19 related closures in Pennsylvania and Illinois for parts of January, and Zia Park in New Mexico not reopening until early March. 

“Further, when adjusting for the days our casinos were mandated to close and excluding the contribution from Penn Interactive, revenues declined 9% and adjusted EBITDAR increased 12%, which equates to margin improvement of more than 700 basis points compared to pro forma Q1 2019.”

Turning to the continued expansion of Penn’s sportsbook footprint and media strategy, Snowden said: “We remain focused on garnering top-three gaming revenue market share for the Barstool Sportsbook and driving best in class profitability. 

“Since launching our product just over seven months ago, we have registered more than 400,000 customers and generated over $660m and $61m in handle and gaming revenue, respectively. We plan for the online Barstool Sportsbook to be live in eight states by football season and in at least 10 states before the end of the year.

“As previously disclosed, on March 11, we successfully launched the Barstool Sportsbook in Illinois, ahead of the 2021 NCAA Basketball Tournament. The initial results for the first 30 days of operations exceeded our expectations, with better first-time deposit conversions relative to what we had generated in Pennsylvania or Michigan. 

“During this period, we registered over 54,700 new customers and generated total handle and gaming revenue of $67.7m and $6.5m, respectively. We also experienced high engagement, with 54% of our Illinois customers wagering on Barstool-exclusive bets.”

Expanding on the impact of Barstool, Snowden stated: “Our ability to deliver unique and engaging content through Barstool Sports sets us apart from our peers. Barstool’s social media reach, creative promotions, custom parlays, and exclusive bets have been key drivers of customer acquisition for the online sportsbook and have led to enhanced engagement and retention, particularly among more casual bettors. 

“In addition, Barstool’s promotion of Penn National’s retail sportsbooks has driven significant awareness and visitation to our land-based properties, highlighting the unique benefits of our fully integrated media and omnichannel strategy. Overall, we have seen very strong results at our properties that have opened Barstool-branded retail sportsbooks, and we plan to open/rebrand six more retail sportsbooks by the end of 2021.”