PENN Tabs Early 2025 For Standalone Hollywood Online Casino Launch In West Virginia

Written By Dan Holmes on May 10, 2024
Image of Hollywood Casino in Ohio for a story on PENN Entertainment expecting to launch a standalone Hollywood online casino app in West Virginia by early 2025.

PENN Entertainment’s recent quarterly earnings call revealed more than dollars and cents. In fact, it contained information that could affect the West Virginia online casino industry.

The company expects to launch its standalone Hollywood Casino app by 2025, according to CEO Jay Snowden.

“We’re making really good progress,” Snowden said. “It’s going to look great. We just need a little bit more time given the priorities between now and the start of football season on the [sportsbook] side.”

PENN ‘probably the only major player’ without standalone online casino

Snowden indicated that the standalone app, including Hollywood Online Casino WV, could launch early in 2025, placing its debut potentially only eight months away.

West Virginia is one of a handful of states with legal online casinos, and could see the Hollywood Casino app soon in its product cycle.

PENN owns several Hollywood casinos, including Hollywood Casino Charles Town, and feels that brand matches what consumers expect if they are sitting in one of those venues and want to extend their gaming experience to online.

PENN is one of the biggest gaming brands that does not have a standalone branded iGaming or online casino mobile application, which Snowden acknowledged.

“We’re probably the only major player that doesn’t have a stand-alone iCasino app at this point,” Snowden said. “We will have that ready to go in very early ’25, hopefully a little earlier, but we’ll say early ’25.”

Snowden: Hollywood online casino will help grow PENN’s iGaming share

In West Virginia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, consumers can access online casino games via a tab in the ESPN Bet sportsbook, which PENN owns and operates.

Six states have active online casino markets, with more expected in the near future. With sports betting reaching legalization in nearly 80% of states, online casino gaming and online poker are a growth opportunity for the industry. Online casinos also deliver much more profit margin.

Previously, PENN offered Barstool Casino as a standalone app, but once it severed ties with Barstool in 2023, customers were transitioned to ESPN Bet. Going forward, PENN wants to clear up the branding confusion and use ESPN Bet for sports betting only and its Hollywood Casino brand for iGaming.

“And you can imagine, when you’re talking about activating your land-based casino database, and [customers are] sitting at a Hollywood property, but they have to download ESPN Bet in order to play [your] online casino, the messaging gets a little bit cluttered or confusing,” Snowden said.

Snowden anticipates that the Hollywood Casino app will be as successful as ESPN Bet.

“So look, internally, if you look over the medium and longer term, we would expect our online casino market share to be right there with our online sports betting market share,” the CEO said.

“It trails today. It has trailed, and we think that we’ve got the right people and the right plans in place to be able to close that gap over time as we grow our market share in [sports betting], we should be growing our share in online casino as well.”

Photo by Mark Duncan / AP Photo
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Dan Holmes

Dan Holmes writes about sports betting, sports media, and sports betting legislative matters. He's the author of three books, and previously reported for Major League Baseball, as well as the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

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