Browse articles by topic

Penn National enters Maryland through Hollywood Casino deal


Penn National Gaming is to enter the Maryland market ahead of the introduction of legal sports betting in the state after agreeing a deal to acquire the operations of Hollywood Casino Perryville.

Under the terms of the $31.1m deal, Penn will enter into a lease with Gaming and Leisure Properties (GLPI) for the real estate assets associated with the 75,000 sq ft facility with annual rent of approximately $7.77m.

The transaction – which sees Penn expand into a 2oth US state — is expected to close in mid-2021, subject to the approval of the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission and other customary closing conditions.

“Penn National is excited to acquire the operations of Hollywood Casino Perryville, a property we developed in 2010, which will allow us to re-enter the strong Maryland gaming market and add a 20th gaming jurisdiction to our leading nationwide footprint,” said Jay Snowden, Penn’s president and chief executive.

“In addition, with the recent approval of sports betting through the overwhelming passage of Question 2 on Election Day, Maryland is expected to soon become a significant retail and mobile sports betting market,” Snowden added.

“As such, this acquisition provides another opportunity to expand our unique omni-channel platform with a Barstool-branded retail sportsbook and mobile app.”

Voters in Maryland last month approved the introduction of legal wagering through a statewide referendum, with 66.2% in favour of the measure, which also secured the backing of Governor Larry Hogan.

The issue has now returned to the Maryland legislature, which will be required to develop a reguatlroy framework for betting. Senator Craig Zucker, who drafted the measure that was ultimately placed on the ballot, had initially set out a full model for sports betting regulation, though this was removed from the final bill.

Zucker’s Senate Bill 4 proposed $2.5m licence fee, plus an annual $250,000 renewal charge, and 20% gross revenue tax. Online operators would also be permitted to operate wagering on behalf of a master licensee, for a fee of at least $5,000.

This was later amended to allow betting at three racetracks, Pimlico Race Course, Laurel Park and Maryland State Fairgrounds, as well as in the Washington Football Team’s FedEx Field.

In January this year, Penn National entered into a strategic partnership with Barstool Sports, whereby Barstool exclusively promotes the company’s land-based and online casinos and sports betting products.

This also allowed for the roll-out of a Kambi-powered betting and igaming offering under the sports media brand.

Hollywood Casino Perryville, located near the Baltimore metro area and southeastern Pennsylvania, became Maryland’s first casino when it opened in 2010.

Image: Hollywood Casino Perryville