Beginning with essentially a single race track just east of Harrisburg, Pa., in the 1970s, the publicly-traded company that became known as Penn National now operates 44 properties in 20 states, Pennsylvania sports betting, online sports wagering in 12 other jurisdictions, and has iCasino operations in five of those jurisdictions.
It also has a new name — PENN Entertainment.
Company CEO Jay Snowden announced the rebranding during PENN’s second-quarter earnings call Aug. 4.
“Our new name maintains ties to our legacy while better reflecting our evolution into North America's leading provider of integrated entertainment, sports content, and casino gaming experiences,” Snowden said on the call. “Next month, we'll also be celebrating the 50th anniversary of PENN National Race Course, which is where our company's story began.”
It remains to be seen whether there will be any operational significance to the rebranding other than it reflects the distance PENN has traveled from being regarded as a regional gaming company to one that extends across the country and even across international borders.
Barstool and theScore Have Played Key Roles
Significant have been the company’s expansions in retail and online sports gambling through its acquisitions of Barstool Sports in the United States (a deal in which PENN will take over 100% of Barstool by 2023) and theScore Bet in Canada. As a result, the company has a muscular database of existing and potential gambling customers.
In addition to its sportsbooks, Barstool online casino launched last year.
Pennsylvania online casinos are legal — online casino games are also legal in New Jersey, Delaware, West Virginia, Michigan and Connecticut.
Those states, plus Nevada, offer online poker.
Mixed Results in Second Quarter
The second-quarter results were mixed for PENN. The company reported an increase in revenue but a drop in net income.
Revenue ticked up to $1.6 billion, an increase of 5.2% year-over-year. But income dropped to $26.1 million compared to net income of $198.7 million in 2021. The 2022 figure represented a net income margin of 1.6% in contrast to a net income margin of 12.9% in the previous year.
Unlike pure-play or near pure-play online gaming companies, PENN’s financial picture is buttressed by its bricks-and-mortar casinos.
“Our destination properties, which benefited from hotel remodels, new restaurants, entertainment, and Barstool-branded Sportsbook performed particularly well in the second quarter,” Snowden said. “Our mychoice database has increased by over 1.2 million registrations over the last four quarters, driven by both our retail properties and our new interactive offerings, which provides significant opportunities for future growth.”
The company opened Hollywood Casino York in 2021.
Looking Ahead with Optimism
Snowden gave a bullish outlook for the tail-end of 2022 and into 2023.
“We are on track to open the Barstool Sportsbook at L’Auberge Baton Rouge this fall. And based on our ongoing success in Louisiana, we are optimistic about our upcoming sportsbook launches in Kansas and Ohio, where we have similar market-leading properties bolstered by large casino databases,” Snowden said. “And with the legislature recently approving sports betting in Massachusetts, the birthplace of Barstool Sportsbook, and also home to our Plainridge Park Casino, we're excited to add yet another possible retail launch by the end of this year. And mobile wagering is anticipated in 2023.”
While Snowden was upbeat, Wall Street hasn’t been particularly moved immediately by the rebranding.
Like many gaming stocks, the last nine to 10 months have not been kind to PENN’s stock price.
At the beginning of the 2021 football season, PENN was trading in the low $80s. At midday today, it hovered around $34.
Like many company executives, whether gaming or otherwise, Snowden is optimistic about anticipated impacts of digital technologies on the bottom line.
“Our 3 Cs, cardless, cashless and contactless technology, and omnichannel engagement also continue to drive our growth,” Snowden said. “Our mywallet cashless experience is now available at nine properties in three states, and we expect to roll the technology out to 12 additional properties by the end of this calendar year, pending regulatory approval.
“Guests that use our mobile wallet and who engage with us via online offerings are not only more loyal, but they also play at a higher spend level when visiting a property and generate a higher total value when engaging with us across multiple channels.”