The question now in the Michigan sports betting world: When will it be available here?
The app and Michigan’s mobile sports betting launch are in a race to see which comes first. Both of the latest projections are for some time in the second half of 2020.
Barstool Sports and Penn National made an agreement in January with the gaming company, purchasing a 36% interest in the men’s lifestyle brand for $163 million. That made the brand the exclusive gaming partner at Penn National casinos, which includes Greektown Casino-Hotel in Detroit.
Barstool app might be waiting on Michigan
Rep. Brandt Iden, who sponsored the bills that led to the state’s expanded gambling laws, theorized the Michigan market might not be fully ready for the online launch.
He said at the ICE North America digital conference that Michigan pushing up the online gaming launch date to the fall could mean some operators and casinos are not ready with their online sportsbooks and iGaming technology.
But according to Jay Snowden, Penn National’s chief executive officer, the Barstool app might be among those ready and waiting.
Snowden said Penn National has continued to be able to develop the Barstool app during the shutdown.
“We anticipate this will allow us to launch on schedule in the third quarter of 2020 on a more level playing field as sports are likely to be ramping back up around that time,” Snowden said on Thursday. “We believe the Barstool brand and marketing engine should help drive meaningful market share as the product is introduced across our database of 20 million casino customers and Barstool’s audience of over 66 million, and growing, fans.”
Permanent Greektown sportsbook still planned
New Chief Financial Officer Dave Williams said Penn National will spend conservatively in the short term. However, Penn is committed to launching the app, as well as the construction of Barstool-branded sportsbooks at Greektown and Colorado’s Ameristar Black Hawk.
When sports betting launched in Michigan on March 11, Greektown opened its temporary book. Greektown’s Marvin Beatty has forecasted a permanent sportsbook being open by football season in the middle of the casino floor.
Williams estimated that the rebranding of facilities as Barstool would cost Penn National $8 million to $10 million.
Snowden cited Greektown for its efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic. The hotel offered 50 hotel rooms for free to the first responders during the worst days of the ordeal in Detroit.
Never a dull moment for Barstool
As detailed by PlayPennsylvania on Monday, Barstool continues to be a volatile brand.
The Daily Beast published a story on Thursday about Barstool’s inner-workings that caused a bit of a stir. At the same time, Barstool founder Dave Portnoy has also made recent comments about the story and his financial net worth that created headlines.
Penn National pulled its surprise Monday morning with a public stock offering that was not mentioned during Thursday’s call.
A lot could change between now and the fall. Stoolies could be wagering on football games this fall in Michigan on the Barstool Sportsbook app.