Report: Penn National in Talks to Buy Barstool Sports

WYOMISSING, Pa. – Penn National Gaming, the owner of Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course, is in talks to purchase Barstool Sports, according to a report from Recode.

According to the Vox Media site, Barstool was valued at more than $100 million last year. Since the Supreme Court legalized sports betting last year, the largest deal to acquire a gambling entity has been Fox Corp.’s purchase of 5% of The Stars Group for $236 million. Barstool Sports launched sister site Barstool Bets, which provides coverage of sports gambling and offers free sports-betting games, in September.

The Chernin Group, which owns Barstool has provided public comment on the report, but Barstool founder Dave Portnoy told Recode: “We continue to speak or have spoken with everybody from DraftKings to FanDuel to Stars to PointsBet to Penn to Willam Hill to MGM to Rush Street, etc. I think that if we aligned ourselves with one company with a shared vision, that company would have an extraordinary advantage in the race to becoming the leading gambling company in the United States.”

In July, Barstool hired David VanEgmond, who had previously worked as head of strategy for betting site FanDuel. The site, known for its “Saturdays are for the boys” slogan and Howard Stern-esque humor in its coverage of sports and pop culture, launched Barstool Bets in September to expand its coverage to sports betting. Barstool has launched “Barstool Sports Advisors,” first on FanDuel’s digital network and then on their own site.

Penn National operates 41 sites across the country, with many offering horse racing, along with bets on both live races and telecasts. The acquisition of Barstool would likely come with applying the site’s branding to some of its betting operations.

Copyright 2020 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.