The competitive sportsbook market in Pennsylvania has over a dozen retail locations and thirteen PA sports betting apps. These feature local options and major national names.

At the top are the two names we see fighting for pole position in most states – FanDuel and DraftKings

What’s interesting to watch on the monthly revenue and handle charts is who can secure that third spot behind the two OG powerhouses. For much of 2021, that position has been heavily contested by two names: BetMGM and Barstool Sports.

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Barstool vs BetMGM for the Current Third Place Spot

Could we have two different brands locked in competition?

BetMGM Sportsbook, the slick, high-profile company associated with some of America’s finest casinos, with celebrities touting the product. And then – the “pirate ship”, associated with controversy and feather-ruffling, the online content brand serving as the face of Penn National Gaming.

Barstool first offered their online book in PA and have held their ground so far. Eight out of 10 months so far, they’ve come in third ahead of BetMGM. Interestingly, both operate as the licensee with Hollywood Casino – albeit different locations.

BetMGM holds the license for the Morgantown location in the western portion of the state. Barstool runs the book at the flagship location in Grantville in central PA. Morgantown does not offer retail sports betting, which gives Barstool a slight edge, albeit not enough to register the difference in handle.

Overall, Barstool has risen to third overall in the historical revenue, surpassing both Rivers Casino locations, Parx, and FoxBet/Mt. Airy. They’re doing this without constant barrages of television ads, sponsoring teams, or having a location in a prime market.

Barstool Sportsbook: High Volume / Low Revenue

Yes, they’re doing it with a lot of social media ads and leveraging their content to drive business. Things seem to be going well for Barstool. There might be a slight problem: they’re not making much money.

  • In a month where Pennsylvania saw handle shatter records with over $776 million wagered, Barstool did over $73.5 million for the month, their highest amount in the calendar year.
  • However, their revenue was only $118,000 on $71.5 million in online handle.
  • In contrast, the Hollywood casino retail location collected $126,000 in revenue on just $2.0 million in volume. 

While Barstool finished last in revenue among the top-5 books in handle, they didn’t finish dead last in the table. 

In February of this year, they finished last in the revenue category, losing over $726,000 online for the month. Some books struggle with the Super Bowl (if anyone recalls any giveaways tied to Portnoy’s beloved Tom Brady, let us know). 

Can Barstool Keep Up With The Top PA Sportsbooks?

So what’s wrong with the Stoolies? How aren’t they making money?

We did a study in late October, covering their promoted PA sportsbook odds boosts each night of the week during the NBA season’s start, baseball playoffs, and other leagues operating. Of the tracked sites, they were the only ones to not offer a winning bet among the “Barstool Exclusives” in seven straight days. 

This will be something to watch as Barstool tries to maintain its position in the Keystone State and expand to other states. Love the brand or hate them, viable sportsbooks run by responsible operators keep markets competitive, which means better opportunities for players.

If the market consolidates, bigger brands will need reliable revenue to survive. Penn National Gaming has spent over half a billion so far, so don’t expect the “pirate ship” to sink anytime soon.

However, keep a weathering eye on the horizon, in case the problems persist and some executives have to walk the plank.