Analysis

Penn hails Barstool; PointsBet and CDI plot launches

Penn National has hailed the success of the launch of Barstool Sportsbook in Pennsylvania as competitors plot further market launches.

Barstool Sportsbook’s first month of operation in Pennsylvania was “one of the highlights” for Penn National’s third quarter as it hit $78m of handle in its first month.

Barstool Sportsbook launched in Pennsylvania in mid-September.

Penn said Barstool had garnered $78m of handle from 30,000 new depositing customers in the first 37 days of operation.

Across the country, Barstool Sportsbook saw 300,000 downloads of the app, of which 60,000 were in Pennsylvania.

Drilling down, that led to 48,000 registrations or an 80% conversion rate. From download to new depositing customers the conversion rate was 64%.

Land grab

The figures from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board for September said handle across the market hit $463m.

Although the periods are not entirely analogous, it would suggest Barstool had grabbed circa 15% of the market in its first month.

Eyes will now turn to the October figures to give an indication whether Barstool helped grow the market or whether it simply took market share.

Barstool has been accorded a top brand weighting on the Wedge Index. As such, its entrance into any market represents a significant boost for the gaming friendliness of the state.

The next state where the app will debut is Michigan, as and when the state finally opens up to regulated sports betting.

On the earnings call with analysts, Penn National CEO Jay Snowden addressed the issue of free bets in the Pennsylvania market. He said that promotional credits – free bets – represented 7% of handle in September, more than enough to wipe out any potential gaming win.

This had “normalized” in October to 3%, which Snowden said was in line with Barstool’s competitors.

PointsBet on the march

Lesser brands have also been talking this week about expanding their sports betting reach.

Australian-listed PointsBet is well established in New Jersey, where it enjoyed a 6.5% market share in the third quarter. It launched in Illinois in September and re-launched operations in Indiana over the quarter.

On the earnings call with analysts, CEO Sam Swanell said a launch in Colorado was “imminent”.

It has also secured access to the online gaming market after signing a deal that will see it supply its online casino solutions to Twin River, which will soon be renaming itself Bally.

PointsBet’s US gross win rose 130% year-on-year in the third quarter to $164.2m. The company said it spent $11.8m on marketing in the US in the quarter.

It had just under 40,000 active players.

Churchill Downs re-ups BetAmerica

Churchill Downs also reported third-quarter revenues this week and reported on progress with the BetAmerica app.

Churchill Downs suffered a setback earlier this year after it switched provider from SBTech to Kambi.

The company said it plans to launch mobile sportsbook and online gaming in each of Pennsylvania, Colorado and Michigan, and its mobile sportsbook application in Indiana.

BetAmerica remains in the second rank of sports-betting brands on the Wedge Index.

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Scott Longley

Scott Longley has been a journalist since the early noughties covering personal finance, sport and the gambling industry. He has worked for a number of publications including Investor's Week, Bloomberg Money, Football First, EGR and GamblingCompliance.com. He now writes for online and print titles across a wide range of sectors.

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