Snowden speaks out on Squawk Box
Penn National Gaming CEO Jay Snowden has pronounced the month of March as “incredible” for his firm’s business revenues and volumes. In an exclusive interview this week on CNBC’s morning and news talk program Squawk Box, he cited a perfect mix of vaccinations, a post-COVID-19 increase in spend-per-visit, and a hike in visitors to gambling facilities resembling 2019 levels as factors.
Squawk Box shared a clip of Snowden’s Tuesday interview – in which he also highlighted the growth of Penn National’s US sports betting markets – via Twitter:
The CEO’s comments reflect Penn National’s booming business. Its stock has risen almost 800% over the past year and, on March 22, it joined stock market index The S&P 500 along with Caesars Entertainment.
Penn National’s March sportsbook tsunami
The NCAA men’s basketball tournament, known as March Madness, has given Penn National’s sports betting partnership with Barstool Sports a massive boost.
Snowden told Squawk Box “it’s been bonkers for us in Illinois” following the pre-March Madness launch of the Barstool Sportsbook app in the state.
It’s been bonkers for us in Illinois”
He also said that wagers made with the Barstool Sportsbook app in Pennsylvania and Michigan on the first day of March Madness almost topped all bets on the Super Bowl. Snowden added: “We blew past, almost doubled, what we saw for Super Bowl within the first two days of March Madness.”
Vaccination confidence fuels recovery
Like its counterparts across the US, Penn National faced casino and racetrack property closures when the first wave of the pandemic struck in March 2020. A year on, it seems to be getting back on track.
Snowden highlighted a perfect combination of spend-per-visit now being much higher than pre-COVID-19 times, coupled with casino visits also going up to 2019-like levels, which the CEO attributes to vaccination confidence.
What we’re seeing right now in the business … is revenues and volumes that I haven’t seen in years”
With higher spend and more visitors, Snowden said: “What we’re seeing right now in the business … is revenues and volumes that I haven’t seen in years.”
A return to US casinos
Vaccinations have had a mass impact on the mood of bettors. According to information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data on Tuesday evening, 69.8% of the US population aged 65 and over have gotten at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, with 43.1% of that grouping now fully vaccinated.
The results are tangible. In Nevada, Las Vegas casino resorts and sportsbooks reported a surge in demand two weeks ago, fueled by the then-upcoming March Madness events and the state’s increased capacity for large gatherings.
And come to Sin City the crowds did. According to a report in the Associated Press, March Madness “drew thousands” over this past weekend to Vegas’s “sports betting books and to a downtown casino rooftop” to watch the various basketball games.