Industry News of the Day for January 30, 2020
iDEA Growth Member News:
- Law360, 1.29.20 – Gambling Chain Makes $163M Bet On Barstool (Ifrah Law mentioned; see full text below)
- Casino chain Penn National, steered by Wachtell, said Wednesday that it took a $163 million stake in the sports and pop culture brand Barstool Sports, guided by Greenberg Glusker, in a deal that marks a novel tie-in between sports media and the gambling industry.
Overall Industry News:
- The Wall Street Journal, 1.29.30 – Race Is On To Cash In On Sports Betting
- The deal between popular sports-media publisher Barstool Sports Inc. and a casino operator is the latest sign of the seismic change under way in sports betting since the Supreme Court moved two years ago to legalize it widely.
- Axios, 1.30.20 – The Sports Betting Industry Is Set For A Big Year
- Barstool Sports used to be a media company, but on the heels of a $163 million investment from Penn National Gaming, it is now, in many respects, a sports betting company.
- Gambling Compliance, 1.30.20 – Penn National Finds Its Media Partner In Barstool Sports (subscription paywall)
- Penn National Gaming announced a sports-betting partnership with emerging sports-media powerhouse Barstool Sports on Wednesday, the latest in a series of casino and media tie-ups that are beginning to pique the interest of gaming regulators.
- Online Poker Report, 1.29.20 – Barstool Casino Part Of Penn National’s New Plan For Online Gambling
- Penn National is aiming to operate multiple online casino brands following its acquisition of a stake in Barstool Sports.
- Philadelphia Business Journal, 1.29.20 – Penn National’s Average Casino Customer Is In Their 50s. It’s Betting Barstool Sports Can Change That (subscription paywall)
- Penn National is trying to get a younger audience in its casinos following its purchase of a major stake in Barstool Sports.
- Legal Sports Report, 1.30.20 – Where The Fist Barstool Sportsbook In The United States Will Be Located
- The first Barstool Sportsbook could be coming to West Virginia early this year, Head of Penn Interactive Jon Kaplowitz told Legal Sports Report.
- Gambling Compliance, 1.30.20 – NIGC Urges Caution In Tribal Sportsbook Partnerships (subscription paywall)
- Indian tribes should tread carefully when establishing partnerships for sports betting to ensure they remain in compliance with the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), according to a National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) advisory bulletin published on Wednesday.
- iGaming Business, 1.30.20 – NIGC Warns Tribes Of IGRA Rules On Sports Betting Deals
- The National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) has released a new advisory bulletin that warns Native American tribes of key considerations and potential restrictions they face under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) when rolling out sports betting.
- NJ Online Gambling, 1.29.30 – Horsemen Don’t Need Federal Oversight, Monmouth Park Operator Insists
- Dennis Drazin, who operates Monmouth Park for New Jersey’s thoroughbred horsemen, appeared before a House of Representatives committee in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday to oppose a bill intended to address a spate of deaths of racehorses in the past 18 months.
Sports League News:
- Play Pennsylvania, 1.30.20 – Chips, Dips, Bets: More Americans Than Ever Are Hungry To Bet This Year’s Super Bowl
- Today, thirteen states offer sports betting, up from seven during last year’s Super Bowl. A record 26 million, or one in ten American adults, will wager an estimated $6.8 billion on Super Bowl LIV, a recent survey from the American Gaming Association (AGA) revealed.
- Hartford Courant, 1.29.30 – Sports Betting And Casino Legislation With Tribal Partners Are Back On The General Assembly’s Agenda, Offering Millions To Connecticut’s Municipalities
- Legislative leaders Wednesday unveiled their latest proposal to establish sports betting and broader casino and lottery betting in Connecticut, pledging to approve legislation that previously fell victim to rural and urban divisions, opposition to expanded gambling and sticking points between the state and the two tribes who operate the Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Resort casinos.
- WSHU, 1.30.20 – Bill Pushes Online Sports Betting At Connecticut Casinos
- Connecticut lawmakers say they want to mandate Governor Ned Lamont to reopen negotiations with the state’s two federally recognized Native American tribes to offer online sports betting at existing and any future casinos.
- Burlington Free Press, 1.30.20 – Sports Betting In Vermont Might Not Be Illegal If You’re Using An Offshore Website
- Even though it’s illegal to bet on sports in Vermont, it’s technically not illegal to bet outside Vermont. Welcome to offshore sports betting.
- Legal Sports Report, 1.29.20 – Dueling Maryland Sports Betting Bills Get First Look Today
- We could find out which Maryland sports betting bill is preferred in the Senate after the two bills get their first hearings today.
- iGaming Business, 1.30.20 – Maryland Senators File Competing Sports Betting Bills
- Two competing bills to authorize sports betting in Maryland have been introduced in the state senate.
- CBS Baltimore, 1.29.20 – Bill To Legalize Online Sports Betting In The Works For Maryland
- From slots to game tables and now the possible addition of online sports betting, Maryland has slow-danced into gambling venues, much due to the fact that it is written into the constitution that voters must approve any new gaming in the state.
- Legal Sports Report, 1.29.20 – ‘Votes Are There’ To Legalize Virginia Sports Betting In 2020 Legislature
- A mobile-only Virginia sports betting bill has the votes to pass this year with operators potentially live by the NFL season, Sen. Jeremy McPike said.
- Sports Business Daily, 1.29.20 – Virginia Lawmakers To Consider Legalizing Online Sports Betting (subscription paywall)
- Virginia lawmakers will “consider fully legalizing online sports betting” during their ’20 legislative session, according to Katishi Maake of the Washington Business Journal.
- Sports Handle, 1.29.20 – Operators On Board With Latest Kansas Sports Betting Bill
- If anything was made clear at Wednesday’s truncated Kansas Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee sports wagering hearing it was this: potential sportsbook operators are clearly on board.
- KSNT, 1.29.30 – Lawmakers Getting Closer To A Vote On Sports Betting
- Kansas could soon be the next state to legalize sports betting.
- KNSS, 1.30.20 – Kansas Legislature Taking Another Look At Sports Gambling
- Kansas lawmakers are taking another swing at legalizing sports gambling.
- Sports Handle, 1.29.20 – Nebraska Takes Small First Step Towards Sports Wagering
- State Senator Justin Wayne has taken the first step towards bringing sports wagering to the state of Nebraska by introducing legislation that defines sports betting, daily fantasy sports, and poker games of skill.
- WKYT, 1.29.20 – Part Of Beshear’s Budget Relies On Passage Of Sports Betting Bill
- Will some of the revenue in this year’s state budget come from legalized sports betting events?
- Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 1.29.20 – Arkansas Casino Debuts Sports Betting; Super Bowl, NBA Games Among Options For Visitors
- With the Super Bowl on Sunday, Southland Casino Racing in West Memphis started offering sports betting on Tuesday in what its officials described as a soft opening.
- WAFB, 1.29.20 – Sports Betting Still Not Legal In LA As Super Bowl Weekend Approaches
- Sports betting is technically against the law in Louisiana. In 2019, it was close to finally becoming legal, but a committee in the House voted it down.
- Los Angeles Times, 1.30.20 – Las Vegas Sports Books Banking On The Experience To Attract Customers
- New Hampshire became the 14th state to legalize sports gambling Dec. 30 when Gov. Chris Sununu placed the ceremonial first wager on the New England Patriots to win the Super Bowl.
- NJ Online Gambling, 1.29.30 – Not Just Football: NJ Wagering Options Include Two Dozen Sports
- While talk of Super Bowl wagering permeates even the most mainstream of newscasts these days, New Jersey-based sports fans with no more than a casual interest in risk-taking likely would be surprised at how many sports are on their menu.
- PlayPennsylvania, 1.29.30 – BetAmerica Makes Seven Online Casino Options Live In PA By Super Bowl
- BetAmerica soft-launched its iGaming offering on Jan. 28. Testing was conducted on Tuesday and Wednesday with a projected full launch on Thursday, Jan. 30.
Gambling Chain Makes $163M Bet On Barstool
By Andrew Karpan
Casino chain Penn National, steered by Wachtell, said Wednesday that it took a $163 million stake in the sports and pop culture brand Barstool Sports, guided by Greenberg Glusker, in a deal that marks a novel tie in between sports media and the gambling industry.
The deal, which would give Penn National Gaming Inc. a 36% interest in Barstool, also allows the chain of 41 casinos to use Barstool’s brand as an advertising vehicle for up to the next 40 years and to use the brand’s name to market sports betting in states where it has been legalized.
Citing Barstool’s 66 million monthly unique visitors, Penn National said in a statement Wednesday that it predicts the “loyalty of its audience will lead to meaningful reductions in customer acquisition and promotional costs for our sports betting and online products, significantly enhancing profitability and driving value for our shareholders.”
Penn National also indicated that it would use its new stake in Barstool to quickly direct sports fans to its gambling operations.
The head of Penn National’s online gaming arm, Jon Kaplowitz, said in a statement that “our team is excited to begin collaborating with Barstool Sports on ways to utilize its key talent and leading content to drive audiences to Penn National’s online gaming products.”
The sale would partially divest Barstool from Peter Chernin’s The Chernin Group, which bought its controlling stake in Barstool in 2016 and invested an additional $15 million into the brand in 2018. Following the deal, Chernin would own 36% of Barstool, but Penn National says they plan on buying a controlling interest in the company, which the deal now values at approximately $450 million, for approximately $62 million in three years.
Started by Dave Portnoy as a satirical sports blog in 2003, Barstool expanded into a multimedia franchise over the next decade and a half, venturing into podcasts, a radio channel that streams on SiriusXM Satellite Radio and an amateur boxing league that Barstool bought in 2017, according to its website.
Portnoy said in a statement Wednesday that the sale is “a dream of mine and why I started Barstool Sports in the first place.”
The sale comes a week after Barstool inked a deal with the National Labor Relations Board to end allegations it suppressed union organizing after the Freelance Journalists Union said the company’s management operated a Twitter account that falsely identified itself as a labor organization trying to organize workers.
Barstool’s website is also a common target of copyright suits, with the brand weathering infringement claims in the past year on behalf of the paparazzi powerhouse Backgrid and the creators of a stylized image of a National Football League commissioner that Barstool allegedly slapped on everything from T-shirts and towels to bathing suits and billboards.
Representatives for Barstool and Penn National did not respond to requests for comment.
Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz acted as lead adviser for Penn National. The Wachtell Lipton team was led by Daniel A. Neff and Zachary S. Podolsky.
Financial information for Penn National was not immediately known.
Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger LLP acted as lead adviser for Barstool Sports. The Greenberg Glusker team was led by Jesse Saivar, with assistance from Eric Perlmutter-Gumbiner and Benjamin Helfman. Barstool was also advised by Bowen Tax Law on tax-related issues and Ifrah Law on gaming-specific issues. Financial information for Barstool Sports was not immediately known.
Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP acted as lead adviser for The Chernin Group. Financial information for The Chernin Group was not immediately known.
The Gibson Dunn team was led by Los Angeles partners Bradford Weirick and Dora Arash and associate Carlos Soto.