Barstool Sportsbook app approved to launch in Michigan

Launch will include a fundraiser for the Barstool Sports fund to help struggling small businesses in Michigan impacted by COVID-19

Penn National Gaming has received approval Tuesday from Michigan's Gaming Control Board to offer online sports wagering and iCasino products in the state.

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The company plans to launch its Barstool Sportsbook mobile app in Michigan on Friday, Jan. 22 and iCasino products are expected to follow shortly thereafter pending final regulatory approvals. The Barstool Sportsbook mobile app first launched in Pennsylvania in September, where the platform had an opening weekend debut of 21,000 downloads per day.

The official launch comes following the opening of Penn's retail Barstool Sportsbook location at Greektown Casino Hall in downtown Detroit last month.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
PENNPENN NATIONAL GAMING126.26+10.48+9.05%

Penn National president and CEO Jay Snowden told FOX Business' Liz Claman in October that the public should expect the Barstool Sportsbook app to be available in "every state that's legal where we operate and can launch by the end of 2021."

"We'll be in well over a dozen states by the end of the calendar year," he added at the time.

A report by VIXIO GamblingCompliance estimates that that at least six and as many as 14 additional states will legalize or expand sports betting in 2021. In addition, the company estimated revenue from sports betting could reach $2.6 billion to $3.1 billion this year and $10 billion by 2025.

During a briefing earlier this month, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo reversed his long-held opposition to mobile sports betting with a proposal to have the state run sports betting operations in order to maximize tax revenue.

"At a time when New York faces a historic budget deficit due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the current online sports wagering structure incentivizes a large segment of New York residents to travel out of state to make online sports wagers or continue to patronize black markets," he said. "New York has the potential to be the largest sports wagering market in the United States, and by legalizing online sports betting, we aim to keep millions of dollars in revenue here at home, which will only strengthen our ability to rebuild from the COVID-19 crisis."

He called on the New York State Gaming Commission to issue a request for proposals to select and license a sports operator or platform to offer mobile sports wagering in the state.

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As part of the launch, Penn National will partner with Barstool Sports on a fundraiser to support Michigan Small businesses impacted by COVID-19.

From 12 p.m. on Jan. 22 to 11:59 p.m. on Jan. 24, Michigan residents will have their first-time deposit on the Barstool Sportsbook mobile app matched with a donation to The Barstool Fund, provided they wager equal or more than their first-time deposit during the weekend. In addition, visitors to the retail Barstool Sportsbook at Greektown will have their first-time rated wager matched by Greektown Casino with a donation to Fund.

“We’re proud to be able to support those small businesses impacted by COVID-19 as part of our opening plans,” Snowden said in a statement. "I also want to thank the MGCB and its staff for their time and effort in reviewing and approving our applications...We’re off to a fast start in 2021 and look forward to continuing our Company’s evolution into the leading omni-channel provider of retail and online gaming, live racing and sports betting entertainment.”

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Barstool Sports founder David Portnoy announced the initiative last month and has pledged to contribute $500,000 of his own money towards the cause.

In order to qualify, businesses need to keep an active payroll. The Barstool fund will help the small businesses that are chosen pay off whatever costs they have in order to stay afloat until the pandemic is over.

"Hopefully we can save as many small businesses as humanly possible," Portnoy said in a video message.

Small business owners in need of help can submit an application at TheBarstoolFund.com/apply.

Those interested in helping can also make a tax-deductible contribution directly to the fund or by purchasing one of the shirts on the Barstool Fund website. According to Barstool, 100% of the net proceeds will go towards supporting small businesses.

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As of Tuesday afternoon, the Barstool fund has raised over $27 million from 192,433 individual donations and has supported roughly 154 small businesses.

The Associated Press contributed to this report