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Penn Entertainment acquires Barstool Sports in $388 million deal

Barstool SPorts one of the Penn brands in the new loyalty program

Barstool Sports has concluded its $388 million sale to Penn Entertainment. Per the deal announced on Friday, the company is now fully owned by the casino operator.

Prior to the announcement, Penn Entertainment, known as Penn National Gaming at the time, formed an exclusive sports betting and iCasino partnership with Barstool in January 2020. The deal allowed the casino operator to buy a 36% stake in Barstool with $163 million in January 2020.

The move left the former owner of the Chernin Group, Peter Chernin, with the same percentage stake. Dave Portnoy, Barstool’s founder, initially sold majority control of the company to Chernin in 2016.

The 2020 agreement provided Penn Entertainment with a path for the casino’s eventual ownership of Barstool. The entertainment company bought the remaining 64% stakes worth $388 million to close the deal on Friday.

Jay Snowden, Penn Entertainment’s CEO and president, welcomed Barstool into the fold in a statement, pointing out that the company would provide Penn with more opportunities to increase its customer base in the future.

“We are extremely pleased to welcome Barstool Sports fully into the Penn Entertainment family,” Snowden said.

“Barstool is a proven, powerful media brand with an authentic voice and vast, loyal audience that provides us with a strong top of funnel for new customer acquisition and organic cross-selling opportunities across our growing interactive division.”

The casino operator is the owner of Plainville-based Plainridge Park Casino, which launched a Barstool-themed betting book in January after legalized sports betting was established in Massachusetts.

Portnoy founded Barstool in 2003, and according to the companies, it has “evolved into a leading digital player in sports, lifestyle, and entertainment.” The company received a temporary license from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission in December; however, questions were raised about past controversies involving Barstool and comments by Portnoy.

In a blog post made in 2028, the Barstool founder claimed that he had lost “mid-7 figures” within his lifetime on wagers. Portnoy also encouraged his followers to wager their “house, kids, and family” on the Kansas City Chiefs, who lost the 2019 Super Bowl.

Barstool has also been on the receiving end of some backlash after the company hosted racist and sexist coverage on its website. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission decided to hold off making the license permanent until a deeper investigation of Barstool’s practices was made.

In a statement, Portnoy thanked the entire Barstool team for their contribution to the company and revealed that he was looking forward to what Penn Entertainment had in store.

“Barstool Sports is bigger than ever and has become more than I ever dreamed of. I’m very thankful to the Barstool team and Stoolies who have been along for the ride. I’m looking forward to this next chapter with Penn,” Portnoy said.

Since 2020 when Penn initially invested in Barstool, the company revealed that it had increased its audience by 194%. Earlier this year, Penn Entertainment opened the Barstool Sportsbook online betting platform, which is currently functional in 15 states.

The sports blog website also produces and distributes over 100 shows, including videos, podcasts, live events, social media, and pay-per-view. Barstool also operates a commerce business.
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