Penn National Gaming CEO Declares March Business ‘Incredible’ for Sportsbooks and Casinos

  • CEO cited COVID-19 vaccinations, an increase in visitors, and spend-per-visit as factors
  • Penn National’s stock has risen 800% over the past year, and this week it joined the S&P 500
  • Sportsbooks almost doubled Super Bowl wagers in the first two days of March Madness
  • Snowden said business is showing “revenues and volumes that I haven’t seen in years”
  • Nevada has also experienced a surge in casino and sportsbook visitors over the past weekend
man jumping from February step to March step
Penn National Gaming CEO Jay Snowden has said the operator is experiencing an “incredible” March, with business revenues and volumes reaching levels he hasn’t “seen in years.” [Image: Shutterstock.com]

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.

Penn National’s partnership with Barstool Sports has seen the firm roll out its Barstool Sportsbook app in three states, namely Pennsylvania, Michigan, and most recently Illinois, where it launched on March 11.

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.

The Wyomissing, Pennsylvania-based casino operator has 41 gaming and racetrack properties in 19 states. According to a March 2021 press release, it has the largest and most diversified regional gaming footprint in the US, providing retail and online gaming, live racing, and sports betting entertainment via multiple channels.

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.