Sports helps with younger demographic, says Penn chief

Sports betting is a product which can help gaming operators connect with younger people, says Penn National boss Jay Snowden.

Speaking on CNBC yesterday, Penn National CEO Jay Snowden said sports betting had the potential to reach a younger demographic than traditional casino and invigorate gaming consumers.

He was speaking after sports betting achieved a clean sweep during last week’s vote when referenda in Maryland, South Dakota and Louisiana all got voter approval.

‘Stoolies out to play

All three states will receive a substantial boost in their gaming friendliness as measured by the Wedge Index.

Adding Penn National’s Barstool Sportsbook to the mix will add even more points to each state’s tally. 

Barstool Sportsbook is one of the top-ranked competitors according to the Wedge Index sportsbook weighting system.

Snowden suggested casino traffic during the pandemic was also shifting to a younger demographic. Partly this was down to a lack of other live entertainment options.

“Really what this opportunity lays out for Penn National Gaming and the industry at large is we’ve got this young audience that are coming into casinos because there are less forms of entertainment like concerts and sporting events,” he told CNBC.

“They’re coming into casinos and having a great time.” 

Vaccine winners

Penn National’s Barstool Sports launched in New Jersey initially and recently debuted in Pennsylvania, where it help drive a 27% rise in revenue.

Penn also launched its first Barstool-branded retail sportsbook at the Ameristar property in Black Hawk, Colorado in early November.

Snowden told CNBC that the younger bettors attracted to sports was a “new audience” for Penn.

However, he added that once a COVID-19 vaccine was widely available he expected to see the 55-and-over demographics “feel more comfortable leaving the home more often, coming back to the casino”.

Snowden isn’t alone in thinking casinos could be a winner once a vaccine becomes available. 

When the news came through of the breakthrough from Pfizer earlier this week, gaming shares zoomed upwards as investors piled in.


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