Posted on: January 5, 2021, 11:00h.
Last updated on: January 5, 2021, 11:00h.
Penn National Gaming, the largest regional casino operator in the United States, has committed $1 million to the Barstool Fund.
The Barstool Fund supports small businesses that are struggling during COVID-19 and state-ordered restrictions. Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy launched the fund in December with $500,000 of his own money.
Penn National acquired a 36 percent stake in Portnoy’s Barstool Sports just prior to the pandemic. The Pennsylvania-based casino operator paid $163 million in January of 2020 for its Barstool position.
Penn National Gaming is proud to support our partner Dave Portnoy and Barstool Sports in helping to sustain small business owners around the country who have been hard hit by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” Eric Schippers, Penn National’s senior VP of public affairs and government relations, told Casino.org. “Already, over $18 million has been raised to provide ongoing support.
“We look forward to joining the fight to help save our small main street businesses,” Schippers added.
As of this writing, the Barstool Fund has raised more than $18.4 million from 145,233 supporters. Seventy-six businesses have been provided essential funds.
Small Business Bailouts
Dave Portnoy has been an outspoken critic of certain COVID-19 lockdowns and state orders that have caused otherwise profitable businesses to risk closure.
“I’ve been ranting and raving about the plight of small businesses. How do you expect these people to survive?” Portnoy questioned during the launch of the fund last month. “Nobody seems to care in the government. No plan, no relief, no bailout.”
Portnoy established the fund to help businesses in need. His celebrity has ushered in millions of dollars in additional donations.
To qualify for relief through the Barstool Fund, small businesses must continue to be paying their employees during reduced or closed operations. Businesses must inform the Barstool Fund what they need to survive another month. Once approved, businesses can receive additional money to make sure a one-time relief payment isn’t for nothing.
Many more businesses will receive distributions with Penn National’s $1 million donation.
Breaking: $Penn matches the highest donation yet to the #barstoolfund with a 7 figure donation. 1 million donation to support small business and it’s just the start. This pushes us over 18 million mark. Thanks to @PNGamingInc for the huge donation. pic.twitter.com/w3YMI16Zk9
— Dave Portnoy (@stoolpresidente) January 5, 2021
“We’ve been so inspired by our partners at Barstool Sports and their help for small businesses that we are committing $1 million to the Barstool Fund,” Penn National Gaming said in a LinkedIn post.
The $1 million contribution matched the $1 million given by Pete and Burson Snyder, the founders of the 30 Day Fund that also helps small businesses. The Barstool Fund works in support of the 30 Day Fund. Pete Snyder is an entrepreneur and marketing executive who founded New Media Strategies.
While many gaming stocks have been battered during COVID-19, Penn National actually prospered in 2020.
Traded on Nasdaq, Penn National shares began 2020 at $26.93. They fell to $4.52 in March, but have surged ever since. The stock closed out 2020 at $86.37 — a more than 220 percent increase from where they started the year.
Penn National shares continue to show investor enthusiasm, the stock up another six percent today. Casino executives believe a considerable pent-up demand to get out, travel, and gamble will result in a strong 2021.
Penn National recently opened three Barstool Sportsbooks. The company’s Greektown Casino in Detroit opened the day before Christmas Eve. Barstool sports betting venues also opened ahead of the holiday at Hollywood Casino Lawrenceburg in Indiana, and Ameristar East Chicago.