Penn National CEO Reports Strong Recovery Amidst Vaccinations

Penn National Gaming is a top operator in the land-based and online sector. Since last year, the company has been struggling a bit due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Once COVID became an issue, operators like Penn National were forced to close casinos and were bringing in zero revenues due to the lack of operations. Over time, the venues were able to reopen and now it seems the company is one of several starting to enter a recovery period.

Strong Recovery with Vaccinations

Jay Snowden, the CEO of Penn National Gaming, recently spoke with CNBC about the recovery process for the company. In an interview, Snowden said that vaccinations are making consumers feel more at ease when it comes to visiting casinos.

The CEO said that right now, the company is seeing revenues and volumes that have not been seen in years. March has been incredible. The company has 41 gaming and racetrack venues spread across 19 states in the US.

When the venues started to reopen in the spring and summer of 2020, attendance was low when compared to before the pandemic. However, engagement by those who visited was high. Snowden said that the spending habits of those visiting were high but visitation remained down due to the older crowd avoiding travel.

The vaccination process seems to be making people more comfortable with travel. Right now, there are three vaccinations that have been approved for emergency use in the United States. Citizens must take two shots of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine while the Johnson & Johnson option is just one shot.

Right now, the older population has been vaccinated at over 65%. With this age group being vaccinated, it will lead to more travel to casinos among the older generation. As vaccinations continue to increase, then more people will be ready to travel which will increase the tourism industry, directly helping the casino venues.

According to Snowden, the visitation level is up so far in March. The levels are comparable to 2019 numbers. Just recently, the company had one of its biggest weekends in years. While this is good for the industry, new cases did rise in more than 27 states for the seven-day average by 5%. Hopefully, there will not be a huge increase in cases, but people may start getting back out before the vaccinations can fully take effect and it might see a regress when it comes to positive cases.

Sports Betting App

Like many operators, Penn National has placed some emphasis on online services. The company has a partnership with Barstool Sports and offers online betting options in Illinois, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. The brand has plans to offer more services in other states in the future.

This month, the Barstool app has been even more popular due to March Madness, the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. The wagers will only continue to roll in as the tournament continues through April.

Hopefully, other gaming companies will be able to see recovery, as vaccinations continue, and the virus continues to slow down. It would be nice to get back to normal and see more players at casinos enjoying the many services the venues can provide.

Conor Stack
Conor Stack

Conor is one of our main writers on USGS focusing on a wide range of industry coverage across sports, casino and poker.