Barstool’s Portnoy aims to build ‘most forward thinking sports gambling company’

Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy told “Varney & Co.” on Monday that he is “trying to build the most forward-thinking sports gambling company” out there. 

Portnoy made the comment four days after Penn National Gaming announced the company agreed to acquire Score Media & Gaming Inc. for about $2 billion, The Wall Street Journal reported. Penn National Gaming added sports news and digital technology to its sports-betting operations with the acquisition. 

Last year, Barstool Sports, the controversial sports content provider founded by Portnoy, sold a 36% stake to Penn National Gaming Inc. for about $163 million.

Penn National has offers online gaming, live racing and sports betting and Score Media operates theScore app, which offers sports scores, news and betting information to its subscribers, according to the Wall Street Journal. The company reportedly had nearly 4 million average monthly active users as of its May quarter. 

Penn National said acquiring theScore will give it technology to help enhance its customer experience and expand the reach of Barstool Sports, the newspaper reported, noting that the deal comes amid heated competition for U.S. sports-betting customers, as more states legalize the practice

Portnoy told host Stuart Varney on Monday that the goal is to merge online sports gambling and sports news and hopes the “new generation” looking to engage in both activities will “come to us.” 

“It’s a big deal and an exciting time in the whole industry,” he said.

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The Pennsylvania-based gaming company that owns a minority stake in Barstool Sports also recently announced that Philadelphia and Chicago are going to get Barstool Sports-branded sports bars. 

The announcement came as Penn National Gaming was delivering its second-quarter 2021 earnings report last week. 

Additional details about when and where the two pilot locations would crop up or what the venues might look like were not immediately available. 

Overall, the company said it expects additional growth in the near future – with its Barstool Sportsbook and iCasino apps as it looks to online gaming to continue to bolster its core business model.

Portnoy also discussed his recent announcement that Barstool Sports is the new sponsor of the Tucson-based Arizona Bowl, which he said will take place on New Year’s Eve day. 

He explained that the game will be “strictly” streamed and “our own people” will call the game and report from the sidelines. 

“And we’re going to cover it for the first time, not only traditionally sports, but from a gambling angle,” Portnoy said. 

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“We think we’d reach a new generation of gamblers that will look at sports a little bit differently and it’s becoming accepted everywhere,” he added. 

“Every league is starting to accept it [and] embrace it because there’s money to be made.” 

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FOX Business’ Jonathan Garber and Michael Ruiz contributed to this report.