Barstool On Way To Maryland After Casino Deal Approval

Barstool On Way To Maryland After Casino Deal Approval
© PA

Penn National received final approval Thursday from the Maryland State Lottery and Gaming Control Agency to operate a casino it actually first developed in northern Maryland. In fact, the Hollywood Casino Perryville in Cecil County was the state’s first casino when it opened in 2010.

More than a decade later, Penn National, a Pennsylvania-based company, is acquiring the operations of that same casino in Maryland from Gaming and Leisure Properties, Inc., for $31.1 million in cash. It also is entering a lease agreement with that same company for the real estate assets for an annual rent of about $7.77 million.

Gaming and Leisure is a real estate investment trust that’s a spin-off of Penn National and both have corporate addresses in Wyomissing, Pa.

The transaction between Penn National and Gaming and Leisure Properties is expected to close in mid-2021. The two had entered into an agreement for the deal in December.

Penn National gets back into the Maryland gambling market following the state legalizing sports betting in May when Gov. Larry Hogan signed expansive sports wagering legislation. Penn National is in line to receive one of the retail sportsbook licenses when regulations have been crafted and licensing of operators occurs. Retail betting could launch sometime this year.

Maryland figures to be a crowded sports gambling market. To that point, Penn National is also likely to be an applicant for what are 60 available online licenses (although no one anticipates that many applicants). As far as a timetable is concerned, online sports gambling in Maryland may not be ready until 2022.

Barstool Retail Sportsbook Likely First

Some of Penn National’s sportsbooks and its online sports betting platform carries the nameplate of Barstool Sports, the online sports and entertainment media company that pointedly targets a younger, mostly male, demographic. In January 2020, Penn National purchased a 36% stake in Barstool with an option to increase its ownership interest in the future.

“We are thrilled to be re-entering the Maryland market at a property we developed in 2010 as it will add a 20th gaming jurisdiction to our already leading nationwide footprint,” Jay Snowden, president and CEO of Penn National, said in a news release.

“In addition, we’re equally excited to be entering this market following the legalization of sports betting in Maryland a few weeks ago,” Snowden added. “This acquisition provides another opportunity to expand our unique omnichannel platform with a Barstool-branded retail sportsbook and mobile app.”

Penn National operates or has ownership interests in 41 gaming and racing properties in 19 states. The company offers live sports betting at properties in Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Mississippi, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

The company has online gaming operations (through Penn Interactive Ventures or in partnerships) in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Indiana, West Virginia, and Iowa.