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Sunday, December 3, 2023

Barstool Sportsbook’s entertainment experience attracts seasoned bettors and new customers


Barstool Sportsbook at Hollywood Casino at Penn’s National Stadium recently celebrated its one-year anniversary, and the Grantville facility’s executives wanted to expand awareness of the brand’s extensive entertainment offerings to attract experienced sports bettors and new customers.

Penn Entertainment, Inc., the parent company of the Hollywood casino brand, completed its acquisition of Barstool Sports earlier this month.

Michelle Collins, Hollywood Casino, Granville, Pennsylvania, February 23, 2023. pennlive.com

Hollywood Casino in Granville, Pennsylvania, February 23, 2023. pennlive.com

Hollywood Casino general manager Anthony Frabbiele poses in front of the Barstool Sportsbook bar/restaurant in Grantville, Pennsylvania, on February 23, 2023. pennlive.com

Mike XXX, Hollywood Casino, Granville, PA, February 23, 2023. pennlive.com

Hollywood Casino General Manager Anthony Frabbiele speaks to reporters during a media gathering in Grantville, Pennsylvania, February 23, 2023. Mark Pines | pennlive.com

Hollywood Casino plans to lease the space during the March Madness college basketball game on February 23, 2023 at the Barstool restaurant in Granville, Pennsylvania. Mark Pynes | pennlive.com

Hollywood Casino’s Barstool Sportsbook bets on Feb. 23, 2023 at its restaurant in Grantville, Pennsylvania. Mark Pynes | pennlive.com

Company officials are excited about Barstool’s growth potential, saying its audience has grown nearly 194% since the acquisition was first announced in 2020. Ad sales grew 160% during the period.

Anthony Frabbiele, vice president general manager at Hollywood Casino, said visiting the Grantville location, which features a full bar, improved restaurant menu and sportsbook offerings, is a different experience than competitors.

“I think what sets Barstool apart in the first place is what you see and experience when you walk in the door,” Frabbiele said. TVs, large video screens that surround our bar. It really sets us apart from anything else in the area.

“Food, fun and the Barstool brand, when you think about the Barstool brand, it’s a very loyal brand with 60 million followers,” Frabbiele said. “We have our own sports programming, and everything we do with Barstool, our football programming, and the Barstool characters sets us apart from what everyone else in the industry does.”

However, in-house business at the Grantville location has not been as robust as casino management had hoped in its first year of operation.

“It’s our first real (football) season, and from a promotional standpoint, we kind of get used to what we’re going to do,” said Michelle Collins, assistant general manager at Hollywood Casino’s Granville Casino. “If you come here on a college game day, it’s a Penn State road game, and this place is crazy. So, we need to emulate that and make that same connection for other games.”

Read more: Record year: Pennsylvania casinos bring in more than $5 billion in 2022

Read more: Cashless amenities, ‘high energy’ sports betting, interactive gaming: Designing today’s casinos

Read more: Online gaming profits soar at Hollywood casinos while profits at live slots and table games fall

Mike Mueller, regional vice president of gaming at the three Hollywood casino facilities in Granville, York and Morgantown, said a key strategy is helping people who get into sports betting understand how to place bets and make them more accessible. made easy.

“Our sportsbook leadership team is creating a menu of 10 quick bets to introduce people to,” he said. “A lot of people who come here come for the restaurant and they may not even realize there is gambling. So we are trying to work with the team here to create more betting atmosphere and excitement of the game.”

The Super Bowl and the NCAA Final Four are the two peak times of the sports betting year. Inventing unique bets not found on online sports betting sites, such as the recent Philadelphia Phillies-Philadelphia Eagles parlay bet, keeps fans interested and money flowing, Mueller said.

Hollywood Mini Casinos in York and Morgantown also have in-house Barstool Sportsbook locations.

entertainment destination

Collins noted that many people who heard about Barstool as a sportsbook were initially hesitant to visit the location because they didn’t know about the food and entertainment it offered.

“People don’t realize there’s another part to it. It’s not just a sportsbook. It has an entertainment side. We’ll start doing DJ sets on weekends to make it younger and exciting,” she said, because the casino Officials continue to reach the coveted 21- to 34-year-old demographic.

The Top Golf area is available for hire for groups, who can play interactive games and receive private catering. A plan is in the works to offer promotions around the upcoming Ultimate Fighting Championship event.

One hurdle, Collins said, is that Grantville’s Barstool is currently open Thursday through Sunday.Meanwhile, the slots floor has resumed 24/7 operations in the wake of the pandemic, with table games available from 10 a.m. to 4 a.m.

“We haven’t gotten to the point where we’re open on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays. From a staffing standpoint, we’ve got a lot of holes to fill, and I think once we can start programming it differently, we’ll start Get more excited,” Collins said. “It’s going to be told during March Madness because we’re going to have a lot of different shows during that time. You’ll be able to book the different booths that we have so you can arrange them for a private party within four hours and Serve directly where you sit.”

Racing enthusiasts can request a simulcast racetrack feed or a live Penn National event on a smaller TV at the bar to watch and bet on the races while enjoying food and drinks, Mueller said.

However, bar video poker machines are not currently allowed in sportsbooks under Pennsylvania Gaming Commission regulations, and there are currently no plans to add them, Mueller said.

Collins said the popular outdoor concert series will resume this summer at Hollywood’s outdoor arena, with as many as 14 different shows negotiated through promoter Live Nation. A full schedule of operations will be announced in the near future.

Collins said that a whole host of local and tribute bands continued to be popular at the H Lounge on weekend nights.

“This place is packed on weekends,” she said.

FILE PHOTO: ZZ Top performs on the myheroes stage at the Hollywood Casino at Penn National Racetrack on July 24, 2022. As many as 14 concerts are planned at the venue this summer. July 24, 2022 | File Photo by Neil Renaldi (PennLive Special Report)

Live Poker: Raise or Fold?

Live poker, which stopped with the COVID-19 pandemic and hasn’t returned since, may be making a comeback. Currently, the closest casinos in the state with live poker rooms are Wind Creek Bethlehem and Mohegan Pennsylvania in Wilkes-Barre.

GM Frabbiele declined to comment on poker’s possible return, but regional vice president Mueller said the company remains interested in offering the game.

“We don’t have people filling a poker room,” Mueller said. “We’re still trying to fill the vacancies at (table game) dealers so we can open our tables here.

“Poker is still on the table. We want to offer it in some way, shape or form at some point. Once the labor market shifts in our favor a little bit, that’s one of the first things we’re going to focus on because it’s An important source of income, our players want to come and play poker here,” Mueller said.

Is horse racing still viable?

The horse racing business at Penn National Raceway Hollywood Casino recently celebrated its 50th anniversary.

FILE PHOTO: Kendrick Carmouche’s Pure Sensation finishes first and Victor Carrasco’s Completed Pass finishes second at the Pennsylvania Mile Day Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup race at Pennsylvania National Racetrack on June 1, 2019. Vicki Vellios Briner | PennLive Special Edition FILE PHOTO

Betting on American thoroughbred horses has fallen sharply in recent years, but will exceed $12 billion by 2022, according to the American Thoroughbred Racing Association.

Penn Racing’s Purse Funding is supported by the state’s Horse Racing Development Fund. The fund, which comes from wagering money from the state’s brick-and-mortar casino slot operations, helps keep purse money, breeder rewards and incentives at meaningful levels.

Slot revenue continues to decline Hollywood Casino at Penn State University Force racing management to cut their wallets by 10.5 percent this year and slash racing dates.

Horse racing remains a core business, however, and officials are moving ahead with renovations for this spring and summer.

“One of the plans and projects we have for this summer is to reimagine the simulcast area, possibly moving it to a different area so that it is no longer separate from the racetrack,” Collins said. “So you can still enjoy the simulcast while enjoying the beauty of the racetrack. We’re going to invest some money in those areas.

“If you go to a nice outdoor place in the summer, you’ll see fire pits, nice twinkling lights, and different food options. Those are things we’re doing going into summer,” she said.

The typical Friday night thoroughbred racing crowd draws a lot of the 21- to 34-year-old crowd casinos crave, Collins said.

“There’s a huge percentage of the younger demographic that we’re trying to target in addition to our regular demographic,” Collins said. “They come here without even getting the (casino and sports betting) experience. , the drinks and the atmosphere, I think it’s going to be a win.”

Collins hopes some of the racing renovations will be completed by Friday, June 2, when the track will host the season’s signature race, the Grade 2 Penn Mile.

Live Thoroughbred racing is held Wednesday through Friday at the Hollywood Casino at Penn National Racetrack, with the first race at 6 p.m. Three Saturday live cards are scheduled to coincide with Kentucky Derby Day (May 2), Preakness Stakes Day (May 20) and Belmont Stakes Day (June 10), with release times to be determined.

Officials said there are currently no plans to reopen the mountain-view restaurant overlooking the track or repurpose the vacant third-floor space that once housed the simulcast and raw sports betting operations.

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Follow Tom De Martini on Twitter – @TomDeMartini1


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