Penn National Gaming strikes Maryland entry via casino deal

US casino operator Penn National Gaming has secured entry into Maryland’s sports betting market via a deal with Hollywood Casino Perryville.

US casino operator Penn National Gaming has secured entry into Maryland’s sports betting market after agreeing a deal to acquire the operations of Hollywood Casino Perryville.

This deal will allow Penn National to offer its sports betting product in Maryland once sports betting regulations are finalised. 

What’s covered in the deal?

The $31.1m deal will see Penn enter into a lease agreement with Gaming and Leisure Properties (GLPI) for the real estate assets associated with the 75,000 sq ft Hollywood casino with an annual rent of approximately $7.77m.

With this deal, Penn National will have expanded its footprint into its 20th US state. 

The transaction is expected to close in mid-2021 and is subject to approval from the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission as well as other customary closing conditions.

Jay Snowden, President and CEO of Penn National, said: “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 twentieth gaming jurisdiction to our leading nationwide footprint.

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

Penn’s Barstool sportsbook

Back in January, Penn National entered a sports betting and online casino partnership with Barstool Sports, which saw the casino operator acquire a 36% stake in the sports media company. 

Under the deal, PNG became  Barstool Sports’ “exclusive gaming partner” for up to 40 years and has the sole right to use the digital sports media brand for all of its online and land-based sports betting and online casino products.

Penn National completed the acquisition in February under the agreement that Penn would increase its stake in Barstool to around 50% over the next three years.

Penn’s Barstool-branded app is currently available in Pennsylvania and a land-based Barstool sportsbook is currently operational in Colorado.

Sports betting in Maryland

Last month, Maryland voters approved the legalisation of sports wagering via a statewide referendum, with 66.2% of voters backing the measures. Maryland’s Governor Larry Hogan also backed the measure.

The sports betting issue has now returned to the state legislature which will now be required to create a regulatory framework for sports wagering.

Senator Craig Zucker, who initially drafted the measure that residents voted on, had introduced a full regulatory framework for sports betting but this was removed from the final bill.

Zucker’s initial bill, SB 4, proposed a $2.5m license fee and an annual renewal fee of $250,000. The bill also proposed a tax rate of 20% on gross revenue and online operators would have been allowed to operate online betting on behalf of a master license holder for at least $5,000.

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