Las Vegas never stops changing. In recent months we’ve learned that MGM Resorts International will sell The Mirage to Hard Rock International while Rival Caesar’s Entertainment (CZR) – Get Caesars Entertainment Inc Report plans to rebrand its Bally’s property under its Horseshoe brand. That’s, of course, because the actual Bally’s Corporation (BALY) – Get Bally’s Corporation Report has made a deal to buy the non-land assets of the Tropicana in order to turn it into a Bally’s.
At the moment, Bally’s does not operate The Tropicana, that property is run by Penn National Gaming (PENN) – Get Penn National Gaming, Inc. Report, which sold the property to Gaming and Leisure Properties (GLPI) – Get Gaming and Leisure Properties, Inc. Report which licensed back the operating rights to the casino to Penn National.
That deal expires at some point in 2024, when you have to assume the property’s new owner, Bally’s, will actually run it, though it could license some of its operations to Penn.
Confused? It’s Las Vegas where everything feels iconic even if it’s new. Now, Penn National Gaming may be making a big change.
Penn, at least for the moment, operates multiple properties on the famed Las Vegas Strip. The Penn name isn’t actually all that well known as it’s not on any of its properties. Penn does, however, own a controlling stake in Barstool Sports, a controversial sports and lifestyle brand with a huge following among millennials.
The Barstool name appears not just on its website, but also on Penn’s online sportsbook which now operates its app in 12 states. That makes Penn a competitor to Caesars and MGM not just in the brick-and-mortar casino world, but also in the growing digital gambling space.
Penn recently closed on its acquisition of theScore, a sports media company that also has its own betting app. As the owner of these two brands, Penn may want to change how people see it and a new patent application suggests it wants to change its name.
Trademark attorney Josh Gerben first shared the news that Penn could be looking to change its name on Twitter.
“The filings include international patent classifications for “downloadable mobile applications for playing casino games, sports betting, live-action betting games, and off-track betting.” The applications also seek trademarks for the aforementioned names for “casino services” and restaurant, bar, café, and hotel services.,” Casino.org reported.
Why Does Penn’s Name Change Matter?
Penn’s move speaks more to a change in how it sees its operations than it does anything else. The company didn’t opt to brand itself to Barstool or theScore, but it has embraced those two brands. CEO Jay Snowden explained those changes in his company’s fourth-quarter earnings call.
“In the fourth quarter, we successfully advanced several of our long-term strategic objectives. Most significantly, we closed on our acquisition of theScore, a transaction that provides us with another powerful sports media brand, loyal audience, and full control of our product and technology road map,” he said. “Looking ahead a year from now, we also have the opportunity to fully own Barstool Sports, which together with theScore, will mark our transformation into a major media and entertainment company.”
Snowden no longer sees his company as a gaming brand. That’s a core part of its offering, but it’s not how he defines the company. He sees the Barstool and theScore brands as feeding the company’s regional portfolio of casinos with customers.
“We are also very fortunate to have two dynamic and growing customer acquisition funnels in Barstool Sports and theScore, together with our leading portfolio of retail casinos and sportsbooks that provide us with highly effective organic marketing and monetization opportunities without the need to incur massive losses to compete,” he added. “And we’re going to stay committed to our strategy of leveraging these strengths.”