Penn National Gaming opened its Barstool Sportsbook to Virginia residents on Tuesday, becoming the eighth VA sportsbook available in the commonwealth.
The Virginia Lottery Board awarded a permit to Penn Sports Interactive, LLC, a division of Penn National Gaming, in March to operate the Barstool Sports app for VA gambling. Barstool is also live in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and Colorado.
Barstool Sports joined the Virginia sportsbook market around noon Tuesday alongside FanDuel, DraftKings VA, BetMGM VA, BetRivers VA, WynnBET, Unibet and Caesars (formerly William Hill Sportsbook). FanDuel was the first to launch in January. In February, its first full month live, Virginia posted $265.8 million in total handle.
Alongside Bartools Sports, the Virginia Lottery also approved temporary sports wagering permits for Bally's and Golden Nugget in March. Virginia Lottery officials expected Golden Nugget would launch its sports betting platform sometime this month.
That plan could change after DraftKings and Golden Nugget Online Gaming (GNOG) announced Monday they have entered into a definitive agreement for DraftKings to acquire Golden Nugget Online Gaming in an all-stock transaction that has an implied equity value of approximately $1.56 billion.
“The acquisition will enable DraftKings to leverage Golden Nugget’s well-known brand, iGaming product experience and existing combined database of more than five million customers,” DraftKings said in a news release.
“This transaction will add great value to the shareholders as two market leaders merge into a leading global player in digital sports, entertainment and online gaming,” Tilman Fertitta, chairman and CEO of GNOG, said in a news release.
In addition, there will be multiple channels for cost savings by, among other things, eliminating platform costs as a result of migrating Golden Nugget’s current technology to DraftKings’ in-house proprietary platform, DraftKings said on Monday. By bringing Golden Nugget Online Gaming onto DraftKings’ in-house technology, DraftKings expects to eliminate current Golden Nugget Online Gaming’s third-party platform costs.
On July 9, former hedge fund manager Will Meade predicted on Twitter (@realwillmeade) that DraftKings, FanDuel or Penn National Gaming (Barstool) would buy a sports betting company this year as “growth is slowing.”
Meade continued, saying Golden Nugget, BetRivers or theScore were likely targets. Penn National Gaming announced last week they will acquire Toronto-based Score Media and Gaming, which runs sports betting platform theScore, for $2 billion and DraftKings is now acquiring Golden Nugget for $1.56 billion.
After DraftKings/Golden Nugget announced on Monday, Meade said FanDuel has to buy BetRivers for $20 a share to play catch-up with DraftKings and Penn National now. “FanDuel and BetMGM will likely have a bidding war to buy this because they are only one left,” Meade said on Twitter.
When Will Bally Bet Launch in VA?
No official word or launch dates has been announced for Bally's sportsbook. After its plans to build a $650-million casino in Richmond were dropped from consideration by the city's evaluation panel in April, Bally's said it was looking forward to providing an online sports betting platform to Virginia bettors under the recently awarded temporary sports wagering permit.
Kindred Agreement With Penn National
Before the Barstool Sports launch announcement on Tuesday, Unibet Sportsbook was the newest sportsbook in Virginia going live on April 28. Kindred Group's entry into Virginia with its Unibet app follows the company's successful launches into New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Indiana. Kindred also secured further market access by signing agreements with Penn National Gaming, which will give access to Ohio and Illinois.
Barstool Future Plans
During an earnings call last week, Penn National Gaming president and chief executive officer Jay Snowden cited Arizona, New Jersey, Colorado and Tennessee as states where Barstool Sportsbook would launch in the fall. He said the company plans to double the number of states Barstool Sportsbook is live in for the NFL season, saying the target is 10 states by the end of the year.