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US – Penn National Gaming and Barstool Sports announce sports betting and iCasino partnership

By - 30 January 2020

Penn National Gaming is buying a 36 per cent interest in Barstool Sports, a leading digital sports media company, for approximately $163m in cash and convertible preferred stock.

Under the agreement, Penn National will be Barstool Sports’ exclusive gaming partner for up to 40 years and have the sole right to utilise the Barstool Sports brand for all of the Company’s online and retail sports betting and iCasino products.

Jay Snowden, President and Chief Executive Officer of Penn National, said: “This exciting new partnership with Barstool Sports reflects our strategy to continue evolving from the nation’s largest regional gaming operator, with 41 properties in 19 states, to a best-in-class omni-channel provider of retail and online gaming and sports betting entertainment.”

Mr. Snowden continued: “With its leading digital content, well-known brand and deep roots in sports betting, Barstool Sports is the ideal partner for Penn National and will enable us to attract a new, younger demographic, which will nicely complement our existing customer database. In addition, with 66 million monthly unique visitors, we believe the significant reach of Barstool Sports and loyalty of its audience will lead to meaningful reductions in customer acquisition and promotional costs for our sports betting and online products, significantly enhancing profitability and driving value for our shareholders.”

Jon Kaplowitz, Head of Penn Interactive, commented: “We look forward to introducing our 20 million mychoice customers to the Barstool Sportsbook brand through our retail sportsbooks and our interactive products. Our growing team of product and engineering talent at Penn Interactive is focused on what we anticipate will be a best-in-class sports betting app, which is expected to launch in the third quarter of 2020. Our team is excited to begin collaborating with Barstool Sports on ways to utilize its key talent and leading content to drive audiences to Penn National’s online gaming products and retail locations, as well as to special events and fan experiences.”

Erika Nardini, Chief Executive Officer of Barstool Sports, said: “Barstool Sports is a dynamic content company that has grown into a media juggernaut thanks to some of the best talent and fans in the world. Over the last five years, Barstool Sports has brought its audience, creativity and expertise to the biggest sports betting and DFS operators in the country with great results. The chance to combine our content and fans with Penn National’s massive footprint, and to develop a unique and compelling omni-channel approach together, was for us a no brainer.”

Dave Portnoy, Founder of Barstool Sports, added: “This opportunity is a dream of mine and why I started Barstool Sports in the first place. Barstool Sports has a deep sports and gaming history and from the moment we met Jay and the Penn National team we knew this could be an exciting and game changing partnership and we can’t wait to get started. I think with our shared vision and goals, we are uniquely positioned to be a leader in this business.”

Mike Kerns, Partner at TCG, stated: “We’re excited to partner with Penn National on Barstool Sports’ next chapter. We have long believed in the power of Barstool Sports’ unique brand, and with Erika’s leadership and Dave’s vision, the Company has realized remarkable growth over the last four years. We believe the marriage of the Barstool brand and passionate audience with Penn National’s gaming leadership will change the industry.”

Mr. Snowden concluded: “As we continue to execute on our omnichannel strategy, we plan to remain focused on our efforts to de-lever our balance sheet while building on our long-term progress in expanding operating margins at our regional casinos. As previously announced, our goal is to achieve a lease-adjusted net leverage level of 5.0x by the end of 2020.”

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