Penn National Returns to Maryland Ahead of Sports Gambling Launch in the State

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Penn National Gaming can now brag about having a domestic US footprint that spans 20 jurisdictions. The casino operator has been negotiating the purchase of Maryland’s Hollywood Casino Perryville from Gaming and Leisure Properties (GLPI) since late last year and received word yesterday that the deal had been approved. The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission signed off on the acquisition yesterday, allowing Penn National to step into the state and prepare for the launch of sports gambling, expected to take place on June 1.

Penn National Ready For Maryland

Penn National and GLPI had worked out a deal for the Perryville casino to change hands for $31.1 million in cash and an annual rent payment of around $7.77 million. The acquisition followed a previous arrangement between the two that saw Penn National cede ownership of the Tropicana Las Vegas Casino Hotel Resort to the real estate investment trust (REIT) in April of last year. It had been expected at that time that Penn National would use that sale to negotiate an expansion of its footprint once it recovered.

Taking over the Hollywood Casino Perryville won’t be difficult for Penn National, as the company is intimately familiar with its operations. The casino was developed by the operator and opened in 2010, but was listed as a GLPI asset when the REIT, at the time a part of Penn National, became an independent entity in 2013. With the company eyeing a lucrative sports gambling market in Maryland, the acquisition of the Hollywood Casino is undoubtedly going to give it a massive boost.

Sports Gambling Comes to Maryland

Maryland is a hot spot for gambling activity and the state is only going to grow its market share moving forward. The American Gaming Association released a report recently that showed that Maryland’s casinos produced the highest revenues in the US last year and more casino growth is expected. In addition to that revenue, sports gambling is expected to go live starting in just a few days and will add significantly to the state’s gaming industry.

Penn National was setting itself up for major improvements over a year ago when it began purchasing Barstool Sports. Initially grabbing a 36% stake in the company, the investment has paid off, with Barstool’s sports gambling success boosting the operator’s bottom line. By acquiring the Perryville casino, which is only a short drive from Baltimore, Penn National will be able to capitalize on the superior performance of the state’s casino market, while adding Barstool to target sports gambling and drive growth higher. These segments, plus Penn National’s focus on the iGaming market, are going to position the company toward the top of the list of gaming operators.

Barstool is already active in a handful of states, and Penn National expects to have it rolled out to at least ten by the end of this year. With how Maryland’s sports gambling laws are structured, the Hollywood Casino Perryville can introduce a sportsbook without delay, giving Barstool easy access to the state in time to set up operations ahead of the upcoming NFL season.

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