Penn National Puts Sports Betting Front And Center In Earnings Call

Written By Bart Shirley on November 9, 2018 - Last Updated on January 21, 2020
Penn National sports betting earnings call

Penn National issued its quarterly earnings call to keep its stakeholders abreast of the company’s activities. Of note, CEO Timothy Wilmott mentioned the importance of sports betting several times throughout his comments.

The call covered the company’s performance in the third quarter of 2018. In other words, he spoke about the three months that ended on Sept. 30.

Pointedly, Wilmott called out sports betting as a notable function of Penn National. He said,

“On the sports betting front, we began taking live wagers at our Mississippi properties in August, and at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races in West Virginia in September. We look forward to implementing sports betting in Pennsylvania later this year, as well as real money iGaming in the first quarter on 2019. Meanwhile, as the nation’s largest regional gaming operator, we’re actively exploring strategic relationships with several sports wagering and iGaming operators as well as leading media companies and content providers.”

Penn National is a gigantic company. Its year-to-date revenue, according to the very same earnings call, is almost $3.6 billion.

So, here we have the company’s leader specifically calling out a segment that didn’t exist until May 2018. The statement speaks volumes about the importance of sports betting in the company’s planning.

In fact, Wilmott also mentioned that both of Penn National’s satellite casinos under construction in Pennsylvania will feature sportsbooks. This announcement comes before sports betting has even launched in the Keystone State.

Penn National also owns Hollywood Casino Charles Town. The property is one of two in West Virginia with sports betting right now, and is far and away the more profitable of the pair.

Even ignoring sports betting, Penn National has had a busy year

Of course, Penn National does more than simply operate sportsbooks. In fact, due to an acquisition completed two weeks ago, Penn National is now one of the biggest gaming companies in the US.

On October 15, Penn National completed its purchase of Pinnacle Entertainment. The purchase expanded Penn National’s portfolio to 40 gaming properties spread across 18 states or countries.

The Pinnacle deal augmented Penn’s player database to over five million customers. Wilmott also estimated that the deal will allow the company to realize $30 million in cost savings in the final quarter of 2018. These savings more or less come from achieving economies of scale for the operation of the larger company.

Wilmott also spoke about the two properties under construction in Pennsylvania. The constructions will cost Penn National a combined total of nearly $230 million.

However, they will also strengthen the company’s foothold in Pennsylvania ahead of the launch of both sports betting and online casinos. Each “mini-casino” will feature 750 slot machines and 30 table games for patrons.

So, things are booming for the company right now. No doubt that sports betting is helping to boost the bottom line.

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Bart Shirley

Bart Shirley is a writer who covers the NJ online gambling industry as well as a poker player from Houston, Texas. He has a master's degree in business administration from Texas Christian University and a degree in English from Texas A&M. In his spare time, Bart teaches math and business at Memorial High School in Houston.

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