Posted on: February 4, 2021, 09:38h.
Last updated on: February 4, 2021, 11:10h.
Penn National Gaming (NASDAQ:PENN) stock is rallying Thursday, reversing an early morning slide, as analysts and investors react to company comments on the Barstool Sportsbook business.
Penn National CEO Jay Snowden, seen here. Penn stock rallied today, helped by solid numbers in the Barstool Sportsbook division. (Image: Reading Eagle)The regional gaming name dipped earlier today after reporting fourth-quarter earnings per share of seven cents on revenue of $1.03 billion. Wall Street expected earnings of 24 cents on a turnover of $1.08 billion.Coronavirus-related closures in Illinois, Michigan, and Pennsylvania and increased restrictions in Ohio and Massachusetts were among the reasons revenue slumped 23 percent on a year-over-year basis. But adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization, and restructuring or rent costs (EBITDAR) declined just nine percent, helped by margin improvements and strength at the operator’s southern venues.CEO Jay Snowden offered up encouraging commentary on Penn’s brick-and-mortar business.Trends in January thus far are encouraging. Visitation and length of play have improved, several of the properties that were forced to close in November and December have reopened, and our retail sports books continue to positively impact both gaming and non-gaming revenues,” he said in a statement.In midday trading, Penn stock is higher by more than five percent, making it one of the best-performing gaming equities today.Boosted by BarstoolPending an acquisition in Maryland, Penn will run more than 40 gaming venues in 20 states, making it the largest regional casino operator in the country. However, the stock’s nearly 3,000 percent gain from its March 2020 lows is mostly attributable to analysts’ and investors’ enthusiasm for the company’s internet casinos and Barstool Sportsbook units.Barstool Sportsbook debuted in Pennsylvania last September, subsequently acquiring 72,000 registered customers while generating a handle of $300 million with “very limited external marketing spend,” said Snowden.The sports wagering app debuted in Michigan on Jan. 22, and early results are solid. Snowden said the app already has 48,000 registered users and that total handle in the first 10 days of operation was $27.5 million.“Based on our analysis of the Michigan market, we believe this implies PENN achieved higher market share than its current 12-13 percent share in Pennsylvania, supporting investors’ confidence that it can be a top 5 player in online sports betting and suggesting potential upside to our 10 percent long-term target,” said Morgan Stanley analyst Thomas Allen.The company also pointed out that since its iGaming platform went live in Michigan on Feb. 1, 15 percent of sports betting clients are embracing the online casino product, too.Penn Stock Barstool Expansion CatalystsCurrently, the Barstool app is only available in Pennsylvania and Michigan. But Penn forecasts that number will jump to 10 by the end of this year.Last November, voters in Maryland and Louisiana approved sports betting. By way of buying operational rights of Hollywood Casino Perryville and an established presence in Michigan, Penn should easily be able to offer Barstool Sportsbook in those markets. Policymakers in those states are working on sports wagering framework this year, and there’s some chatter it could be up and running in Maryland in the summer.The company also said it’s pushing for sports betting to be approved in Massachusetts, Missouri, and Ohio — all states in which it runs regional casinos.